Danish Pelagic Producers Organisation North Sea herring
Certified as sustainable on the 25th June 2009.
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Species: Herring (Clupea harengus)
Location: ICES divisions IV a, b, c, and VII d.
Fishing methods: Purse seine and pelagic trawl.
Vessels: 8 vessels, of which three are trawlers and five are combined trawlers and purse seiners.
Number of fisheries: 1
More about herring
Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) is a pelagic species widely distributed throughout the North- East Atlantic north of the Bay of Biscay and is found all over in the North Sea.
North Sea herring spawn in coastal waters in areas where the substrate consist of gravel and small stones. The eggs are attached to the substrate and hatch after about three weeks depending on temperature. The requirement for a gravel substrate means that the spawning grounds are relatively small and well defined.
Herring is a central component in the North Sea ecosystem both as predator and as prey. Herring feeds mainly on zooplankton (copepods, mysids, euphausiids, fish egg and larvae) and juvenile fish. Herring is an important prey for most predator species including cod, saithe, whiting, mackerel, sea birds and marine mammals.
More about the fishing methods
The herring trawls are mid-water or pelagic trawls. The trawl is towed by the fishing vessel at an appropriate level below the surface to catch the herring shoals. The depth is controlled by a combination of trawling speed and wire length. When the trawl is hauled the trawl is brought to the side of the vessel and the catch is pumped onboard into RSW tanks containing refrigerated seawater.
The pelagic trawls used are not designed to fish on the sea bed and any contact with the bottom involves risk of damage to the trawl. The skippers therefore operate the trawl so that there is no contact with the sea bed. As a result, there is no or very little impact on sea bed habitats when fishing with herring trawls.
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. At the time when the “purse” is sufficiently small in size to be brought to the side of the vessel, the catch is pumped onboard and kept in RSW tanks as described above.
As it is the case with the pelagic trawl the purse seine has no contact with the bottom.
26,195 tonnes (2008)
The main commercial market for DPPO North Sea herring is Germany