The stock is in very good condition and above safe limits and precautionary biological levels. The fishing pressure is sustainable at the recommended levels and the stock is managed by a joint plan, which takes into account the 'straddling' nature of this stock (the fact that the herring cross and are fished through international boundaries during their migration), and it is in line with the precautionary approach. The fishing methods are relatively clean, although there is no information on bycatch. The fishery was certified as an environmentally responsible fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2009.
Herring belongs to the same family of fish (clupeids) as sprat and pilchard. It can grow to greater than 40cm, although size differs between 'races' (distinct breeding stocks). Most herring landed are around 25cm. Herring are sexually mature at between 3-9 years (depending on stock) and populations include both spring and autumn spawners. At least one population in UK waters spawns in any one month of the year. Herring have an important role in the marine ecosystem, as a transformer of plankton at the bottom of the food chain to higher trophic or feeding levels, e.g. for cod, seabirds and marine mammals. It is also considered to have a major impact on other fish stocks as prey and predator and is itself prey for seabirds and marine mammals in the North Sea and other areas. Herring spawning and nursery areas are sensitive and vulnerable to anthropogenic or human influences such as sand and gravel extraction.
Norwegian spring-spawning herring is a widely migratory stock. The feeding grounds of the adults are in the Norwegian Sea. Spawning takes place in late winter and early spring along the Norwegian coast.This widely distributed and migratory or straddling stock is managed under a joint plan by the EU, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Island and Russia. The SSB is declining but still above precautionary biological limits (Bpa) in 2012. The stock is being fished at a sustainable level. The managment plan is designed to provide sustainable fisheries in the long-term. Scientists advise that landings in 2013 should be no more than 619, 000 t. The fisherywas certified as an environmentally responsible fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2009.
The fishery moves with the herring, following the migration from the Norwegian winter grounds to the feeding grounds of international, Icelandic, EU and Norwegian waters in summer. The fishery is entirely pelagic and has no impact upon the seabed. There is little information on its impacts on the ecosystem specifically but pelagic herring fisheries for human consumption are relatively clean in terms of bycatch, although the gears used have been associated with cetacean and seal bycatch. Discards data for this fishery is lacking. The minimum landing size for herring in EU waters is 20cm (18cm in Skagerrak/Kattegat), maturity is at around 17cm.
ICES Advice 2012, Book 9; http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/north-east-atlantic/norway-spring-spawning-herring/norway-spring-spawning-herring
(Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 3 and below are included.)
Read what the consumer pages of the Good Fish Guide say about this species.
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