Certifier : 
Control Union (UK) Limited
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
25 Jun 2009
Certificate expires : 
07 Jul 2020


The North Sea herring fishery targets Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), a species found throughout 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. 

In the 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. This fishery, operated by the Danish Pelagic Producers Organisation (DPPO) and the Danish Fishermen’s Producer Organization (DFPO), targets autumn spawning stock in the North Sea and Eastern Channel.

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 piscivorous 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 setting  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 processing image © MSC