Faroese Pelagic Organization (FPO) Atlanto-Scandian herring — Marine Stewardship Council
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Faroese Pelagic Organization (FPO) Atlanto-Scandian herring

Last Updated: 30 August 2016 

MSC status

Certified as sustainable on the 2nd March 2010.
Re-Certified as sustainable on 16 June 2016. 

For the assessment details, please refer to the assessment downloads section and re-assessment section.  For further information, contact the Conformity Assessment Body.


Species: Herring (Clupea harengus)
Location: North-East Atlantic in FAO 27, ICES division areas I, IIa, IIb, V & XIV
Fishing methods: Pelagic trawl and purse seine
Vessels: Five vessels and one non-member vessel under special agreement
Number of fisheries: 1

Fishery Fact Sheet

Download the Faroese Pelagic Organization Atlanto-Scandian herring  fisheries fact sheet for A4 paper

More about herring

This pelagic species is distributed widely throughout the North Sea. The herring produces eggs which are attached to a gravelly matter on the seabed. This points to an evolutionary history in which herring spawned in rivers and at some later date re-adapted to the marine environment. The spawning grounds in the southern North Sea are the beds of rivers which existed in geological times and some groups of spring spawning herring still spawn in very shallow inshore waters and estuaries. Herring feeds mainly on zooplankton and juvenile fish.

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 benthic floor.

Fishery tonnage

The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the FPO Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery was 74,606 tonnes in 2009.

Commercial market

The major part of the NVG herring caught by these vessels is landed and sold to Norges Sildesalgslag, Norway which is auction based. A very limited part of the catches are sold directly to processing plants in Denmark (Skagen), Shetland (Lerwick), Scotland (Peterhead) and Iceland (Neskapusstaður).

Actual eligibility date

The actual eligibility date for this fishery is the 26th February 2016.

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