Certifier : 
Control Union (UK) Limited
Certified status : 
Combined with another assessment
Certified since : 
21 Jul 2009
Certificate expires : 
21 Jul 2015


Fisheries are composed of one or more parts, each of which is entitled to receive an MSC certificate. These parts or “units” are defined by their target stock(s), fishing gear type(s) and if relevant vessel type(s), and the fishing fleets or groups of vessels.


Some or all units that participated in this fishery are now covered by another assessment. Please see the SPSG, DPPO, PFA, SPFPO & KFO Atlanto-Scandian purse seine and pelagic trawl herring for more information.

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

  • No longer in the program
    MSC UoC Number Species Gear Type Ocean Area Status (Units of Certification) Certificate Code
    UoC-0003 Herring (Clupea harengus) Surrounding Nets - With purse lines (purse seines) 27 (Atlantic, Northeast) Withdrawn MEP-F-029
    UoC-0004 Herring (Clupea harengus) Trawls - Midwater trawls 27 (Atlantic, Northeast) Withdrawn MEP-F-029

View glossary of terms

About this Fishery

NOTE: this fishery has been combined with SPSG, DPPO, PFA, SPFPO & KFO Atlanto-Scandian purse seine and pelagic trawl herring from 2016. 

Atlantic herring is found throughout the continental shelf waters of the North Atlantic, from the Gulf of Maine to the Gulf of St Lawrence off the east coast of North America, around Iceland, and from the Barents Sea to the English Channel and Celtic Sea in the Northeast Atlantic. 

Its distribution is made up of numerous more-or-less isolated or independent stocks, the largest of which is the Atlanto-Scandian or Norwegian spring spawning herring stock. At various times of its life history it occupies some or all of the waters between Iceland, Norway and Spitzbergen (Svalbard).

North Sea herring spawn in coastal waters in areas where the substrate consists of gravel and small stones. These spawning grounds are relatively small and well defined.

Herring is a central component in the North Sea food web. Herring feeds mainly on zooplankton and juvenile fish, and is an important prey for most predator species including cod, saithe, whiting, mackerel, sea birds and marine mammals.

Herring are targeted by mid-water or pelagic trawls, or purse seine nets. The purse seine technique involves the setting of a large net around a shoal of fish, closing the bottom of the net to form a “purse”, and then drawing in the net to the vessel. 

Neither method has an impact on the seabed. As herring form single-species shoals, bycatch of other species is minimal.

Herring image © David Trodd 

Market Information

The herring landed by the Danish Pelagic Producers Organisation (DPPO) fleet is almost exclusively exported. The main market for the DPPO Atlanto Scandian herring is the EU.