Norw. Spr. Herring

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Species description

Latin: Clupea harengus

Winter herring: 2-6 fish per kg. :Jan - Mar
Herring (fat stage): 3-6 fish per kg. :Jul - Dec
Fjord herring: 3-20 fish per kg. : Aug - Apr
North Sea herring: 3-7 fish per kg. :Jan - Mar

Throughout history no fish has meant more to Norway than herring - at least in an economic sense. We know that the first herring fisheries were in operation more than 1,000 years ago, but this industry is probably even older than that. From the thirteenth century to the present day Norway and Denmark have supplied herring to the rest of Europe. Salted and smoked herring was exported, and gradually became a substantial export article from Norway. Thus it is common to hear herring called the manna of the sea for the Scandinavian countries. You may also have heard herring called "the silver of the sea", which calls to mind both the economic importance of herring and its shimmering silver appearance.

Herring is caught by all types of fishing vessel and is divided into different races which are mainly distinguished by spawning period and location, size, rate of growth and migration patterns. Herring always travels in schools, and the large schools are easy to see moving in the water. The stock of Norwegian spring-spawning herring is increasing, while the North Sea stock has been under some pressure. Our common herring species are found even as far north as arctic areas, and there are also small stocks in the eastern region of the Barents Sea.In the olden days it was believed that North Atlantic herring was all part of the same stock, and that it migrated across wide reaches from Iceland in the north to the English Channel and Ireland in the south. However, toward the end of the previous century it was discovered that herring from the various ocean areas differ as to rate of growth, spawning period and spawning areas. Herring was therefore divided into races, based on its spawning areas.