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Herring fishing boats in the Strait of Georgia, BC. Photo: marneejill (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ancient harvests: A history of Salish Sea herring

If you were to ask a group of experts to make a list of culturally important foods in the Pacific Northwest, it would not be a surprise if salmon rose to the top. But researchers say Pacific herring may have at times rivaled salmon in importance in the Salish Sea. Scientists believe that herring have been a staple of Salish Sea food and culture since humans first arrived here at least 12,500 years ago. That importance has continued into modern times, even as herring numbers have declined in parts of the region. Puget Sound author and naturalist David B. Williams reports on the history of Salish Sea herring in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.