Something special is happening on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Amidst all the concerns of dwindling fish populations worldwide, the commercial fishermen in Minnesota have a positive fish tale to tell. Thanks to sustainable fishing methods and management the Lake Superior Herring (Coregonus artedi) is back.
The Confused Herring project is being created to tell that tale. First, what is so positive about this story? Second, what is this fish, the Lake Superior Herring? Why does it have more than one name: lake herring, cisco, tulibee, blue fin, okewis? And most important of all, does it taste like the pickled herring my dad used to eat!?
Up until the 1940s nearly 19 million pounds of Lake Superior Herring were harvested from Lake Superior every year.
However, due to over-fishing, pollution and the introduction of rainbow smelt, populations plummeted.
The good news is that together with pollution and invasive species control, sustainable fishing methods have helped this amazing fish make a comeback. This action started with local fishermen and can continue with YOU.
Research suggests world oceans will be fished out by 2048*. By telling this positive tale of a sustainable commercial fishery, we show a more optimistic fishing future.
The Confused Herring project, a Duluth, MN movement for sustainable community action has been developed by Dustin Thompson, Chenxi Jin, and Steve Bardolph at the University of Minnesota Duluth VIZ | LAB with support from the Institute on the Environment. Building on the work of Minnesota Sea Grant and local figures in sustainability, we are celebrating of the return of Lake Superior Herring!
This “Design for Good” project aims to increase appreciation for
Lake Superior Herring by showcasing the bountiful seasonal fish harvest from Lake Superior's depths.
The links and information below will aid in explaining:
Lake Superior Herring are significantly different from ocean herring which are traditionally pickled. Actually a member of the trout and salmon family, this fish is delicate, high in Omega–3, low in PCB and mercury, and locally harvested. From net to table takes as little as four hours, and at most eight hours. Lake Superior Herring provide local jobs, decreased transportation footprint in comparison to other fish, and is arguably the best-tasting fish in the Upper Midwest.