PORTLAND, Maine — Fishing managers say river herring are at historic lows along the East Coast, and their population remains depleted.

An arm of the regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission concluded that herring are low in abundance due to multiple factors including but not limited to fishing. River herring include alewife and blueback herring, which spend most of their lives at sea before returning to rivers and streams to spawn.

Managers say there are some positive signs for the fish, which is an important part of river ecosystems. They say dam removals and improvements to fish passages are having a positive impact on returns from the sea.

River herring range from Maine to Florida. Efforts to conserve the fish are ongoing in several states.

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