Certifier : 
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
30 Apr 2009
Certificate expires : 
30 Jan 2025


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.

When the term “Unit of Certification” is used for fishing units that are in assessment, it refers to the “Unit of Assessment” or “Unit of potential certification”. Expand a status below to view the parts that form this fishery. To check the detailed scope, download the latest certificate or open the Assessments page to get the latest report. Find out more by visiting our page on Fisheries

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

  • Suspended
    MSC UoC Number Species Gear Type Ocean Area Certificate Code
    UoC-0018 Herring (Clupea harengus) Surrounding Nets - With purse lines (purse seines) 27 (Atlantic, Northeast) MSC-F-61388
    UoC-0019 Herring (Clupea harengus) Trawls - Midwater trawls 27 (Atlantic, Northeast) MSC-F-61388
  • No longer in the program
    MSC UoC Number Species Gear Type Ocean Area Status (Units of Certification) Certificate Code
    UoC-1489 Blue whiting(=Poutassou) (Micromesistius poutassou) Surrounding Nets - With purse lines (purse seines) 27 (Atlantic, Northeast) Withdrawn MSC-F-61388
    UoC-1488 Blue whiting(=Poutassou) (Micromesistius poutassou) Trawls - Bottom trawls 27 (Atlantic, Northeast) Withdrawn MSC-F-61388
    UoC-1487 Blue whiting(=Poutassou) (Micromesistius poutassou) Trawls - Midwater trawls 27 (Atlantic, Northeast) Withdrawn MSC-F-61388

View glossary of terms

Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
Blue whiting(=Poutassou) (Micromesistius poutassou) 2016 309,322
Herring (Clupea harengus) 2017 389,502

Information is provided by an independent Conformity Assessment Body as live weight (the weight of species at the time of catch, before processing) and where a fishing season covers multiple years, the end year is given as the reported catch year. Additional information is available in the latest report, see the assessments page.

About this Fishery

Norway’s spring spawning herring fishery first achieved certification in April 2009 and was recertified in July 2014.

The spring spawning herring is highly migratory: it can be found around the North East Atlantic, spreading into the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Norway, Russia, Iceland, EU and the Faroe Islands. The stock is caught by purse-seine (nets with lines that pull them together like a bag or purse) and pelagic (mid-water) trawl vessels. The herring spawns along the Norwegian west coast between February and March. 

"The certification of our Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery confirms that the stock is in good shape. It is managed well and fishing mortality is kept in line with a long term management plan for the stock. Our purse seine fishery has nearly zero bycatch. You wouldn’t believe that it is this same stock that almost disappeared 40 years ago"
- Otto Gregussen, Secretary General of the Norwegian Fishermen’s association.

The fishery now has an international management plan in place. Because of the migratory nature of this species, the herring stock needs to be shared fairly across nations. This was required in order for the fishery to achieve MSC certification and ensures that there is enough fish left in the sea to breed. 

Market Information

Catch is mostly sold to the EU and Eastern Europe. Most of the herring landed is consumed by humans with 10% used for fish meal and oils. Most of the herring from this fishery is sold frozen.