Latin: Sprattus sprattus
Season: January, June - December.
Size: Approximately 8 - 16 cm long
Brisling is a small herring from 8 to 16 cm long with shiny scales. Brisling is a very common pelagic schooling fish. It spawns between January and July, usually in the period between May and June. In Norwegian waters, brisling spawns in the Oslo fjord and along the eastern part of the Skagerrak coast. Occasionally, brisling spawns in the fjords between Lindesnes and Farsund, and even in some fjords on the west coast.
Brisling is a protected species from 1 February to 31 May. Thus fishing is only carried out during the summer months. Fat content is approximately 11%.
Brisling is most common from the Black Sea to Finnmark, but is rare north of Helgeland. Feeding on plankton, it is itself the prey of a large number of predator fish.
Much of the brisling caught is used as raw material for industry. Norwegian provisions state that brisling must be "låssatt" [kept in nets] for at least three days before it is shipped to canneries for processing as sardines. Brisling is usually smoked poached or preserved in olive oil or tomato sauce. Large brisling will often be spiced giving us Norwegian-style anchovy.
Brisling can be consumed fresh, but most brisling is used in the canning industry where it is a familiar product as sardines and Norwegian-style anchovy.
Brisling is also used in the fishmeal and fish oil industry.
Brisling is usually caught using ring nets or purse seines.
Brisling is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Sardines and Norwegian-style anchovies are a very valuable nutritional supplement.