Infectious hematopoietic necrosis (IHN) leads to periodic epidemics among certain wild and farmed fish species of the Northeast (NE) Pacific. The source of the IHN virus (IHNV) that initiates these outbreaks remains unknown; however, a leading hypothesis involves viral persistence in marine host species such as Pacific herring Clupea pallasii. Under laboratory conditions we exposed specific pathogen-free (SPF) larval and juvenile Pacific herring to 103 to 104 plaque-forming units (pfu) of IHNV ml–1 by waterborne immersion. Cumulative mortalities among exposed groups were not significantly different from those of negative control groups. After waterborne exposure, IHNV was transiently recovered from the tissues of larvae but absent in tissues of juveniles. Additionally, no evidence of viral shedding was detected in the tank water containing exposed juveniles. After intraperitoneal (IP) injection of IHNV in juvenile herring with 103 pfu, IHNV was recovered from the tissues of sub-sampled individuals for only the first 5 d post-exposure. The lack of susceptibility to overt disease and transient levels of IHNV in the tissues of exposed fish indicate that Pacific herring do not likely serve a major epizootiological role in perpetuation of IHNV among free-ranging sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka and farmed Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in the NE Pacific.