Certifier : 
Control Union (UK) Limited
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
22 Apr 2015
Certificate expires : 
21 Oct 2025


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.

FROM Nord, a French producers’ association established in Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1965, received MSC certification for its herring fishery in 2015. Herring is one of the most important species by volume for FROM Nord and for the region. The fishery landed more than 3,000 tonnes of herring in 2014.

Its five artisan trawlers from the north-western part of France target herring using a pelagic (mid-water) trawl, usually 10-20m below the surface. The fishing season starts in October in the southern North Sea, and follows the herring  through  the  winter  months  as  they  move  down  through  the  eastern  Channel, ending in February or March when the quota is exhausted.

The trawl is deployed in short tows – 10 minutes on average and 20 minutes maximum – with the purpose of taking a catch of no more than 10 tonnes of fish at a time to ensure quality. The net is rigged so that fish above this amount can escape via large mesh panels.

Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book