Scientists say Maine’s alewife and blueback herring populations are recovering from declines in the early 2000s despite a rapid loss in population in southern New England.

Researchers from several institutions worked on the study of river herring. It was published Nov. 19 in the online section of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

The researchers included faculty and students from the University of Southern Maine. The university says the researchers discovered that Maine’s population of river herring hasn’t declined nearly as sharply as populations in southern New England and New York.

River herring are important for river ecosystems because they transfer nutrients from the ocean when they return to the streams and rivers where they hatched.

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