Certifier : 
Control Union (UK) Limited
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
03 Jan 2016
Certificate expires : 
02 Jul 2021


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

View glossary of terms

Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
Herring (Clupea harengus) 2019 36,000

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

Atlanto-Scandian herring (ASH) - also called Norwegian spring spawning herring - is a widely migrating stock. The feeding grounds of the adults are in the Norwegian Sea. Spawning takes place in late winter and early spring along the Norwegian coast. In general, most juveniles occur in the Barents Sea and move to the Norwegian Sea when they mature.

The current ASH fishery combines several fisheries/client groups, assessed as separate 'Units of Certification'. Three of these had been individually MSC certified before 2014:

The Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG)

The Danish Pelagic Producers Organisation (DPPO)

The Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association (PFA) (Netherlands)

The remaining two entered assessment in 2014:

The Swedish Producers Federation Producers Organisation (SPFPO)

The Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation (KFO) (Ireland)

The entire group was MSC certified in 2016.  

Following a collapse in the 1970s there was a prolonged period of low recruitment (the number of new young fish entering the population) and the stock didn’t begin to recover until the mid-1980s. Following the introduction of more rigorous and robust international management measures in the 1990s, the stock has increased and landings have been relatively stable around one million tonnes for more than a decade. 

The SPSG and PFA components fish using pelagic (midwater) trawl gear, while the remainder use both purse seine nets and pelagic trawl.  

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

Market Information

Product is sold as either frozen or fresh at auction or to processing industries (e.g Norway), depending on the Unit of Certification.