The fish fetch about $700 a ton, down from a peak of $2,000 in the early '80s, and the population could be endangered after the Cosco Busan oil spill.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a draft report on research conducted to assess the impact of the spill on spawning fish.
Scientists found that young fish were being born with deformities consistent with petroleum toxicity.
It will not be known until at least 2011 if the herring population might recover.
Jackson West is rooting for the herring, because they are delicious.