Herring are important contributor to life along the Pacific Coast

Vertebrae from herring collected at an archeological site
Vertebrae from herring collected at an archeological site

A half million bones of Pacific herring, spanning 2,500 years at 171 archaeological sites from Alaska to Washington, have provided researchers a lesson in ecological history that, they say, should be heard in fisheries management in the future.

The lead scientist on the project, Iain McKechnie, who has completed doctoral work at the University of British Columbia, is just now landing at the University of Oregon as a postdoctoral research fellow in the lab of Madonna L. Moss, a UO anthropology professor and also another member of a nine-member research team.

"This study extends our perspective on coastal fisheries in the Pacific Northwest," McKechnie says. "Among the dozens of species harvested by countless generations of Native Americans and First Nations in Canada, one stands out archaeologically: herring."

Their study, appearing online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is detailed in "Oregon researchers say ancient herring catch nets fisheries weakness." 

- by Jim Barlow, Office of Public Affairs Communications