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Herring or sild

Clupea harengus

Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Pelagic trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Norwegian (spring-spawning)
Stock detail - I, II and V
Accreditation - Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Fish type - Oily fish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is a good sustainable fish to eat. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find similar fish to eat.


Sustainability overview

Although declining , the stock is in very good condition and above all reference levels and assessed as having full reproductive capacity. The fishing pressure is at sustainable levels but above the management plan target. 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 (MSC) in 2009.

Biology

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.

Stock information

Stock area
Norwegian (spring-spawning)

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Stock information
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 2013. The stock is being fished at a sustainable level. Scientists advise that landings in 2014 should be no more than 418, 487 t (619, 000 t in 2013). The fisherywas certified as an environmentally responsible fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 2009.

Management

A long-term management plan was agreed by the EU, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Russia in 1999. The managment plan aims to constrain harvesting within safe biological limits and is designed to provide sustainable fisheries in the long-term. The plan is evaluated by ICES as being consistent with the precautionary approach.

Capture information

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.

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References
ICES Advice 2013, 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

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