Although their crunchy eggs are considered a treat to many, the Pacific herring itself is usually considered a baitfish in much of United States. A single female herring may release thousands of eggs, which stick to anything they touch. Many people will hang spruce boughs near spawning areas or collect kelp already heavy with herring eggs. Within Southeast Alaska there are nine recognized spawning areas, including one in Lynn Canal.
Herring can breed multiple times and may live up to 16 years. This fish is an important food source for salmon and other marine mammals.