Certifier : 
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
26 Feb 2010
Certificate expires : 
29 Jan 2024


The 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.

Within this total distribution are numerous more-or-less isolated or independent stocks. The largest is the Atlanto-Scandian or Norwegian spring spawning herring stock – one of the world’s most abundant fisheries. It is classified as having full reproductive capacity, with fish caught at a level that would maximise catches over the long-term without reducing the overall abundance of the stock.

The certified fishery comprises five large technologically advanced vessels. They follow the migration of the stock closely as it moves from the wintering and spawning grounds along the Norwegian coast to the summer feeding grounds in the Faroese, Icelandic, Jan Mayen, Svalbard and international areas.

The processing vessel M/S Nordborg is one of the largest and most modern fishing vessels in the North Atlantic. It has a sophisticated production system, which allows the herring to be processed at sea and frozen immediately after.

The fleet uses midwater (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 (Clupea harengus) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book