From our seas, to your plate
By the time we reel in our purse seines, the sea has done the majority of the work in slowly raising our deliciously fatty herring. It then becomes our duty to maintain the quality that nature has provided.
The process of bringing delicious herring to your plate begins at sea, but it requires a streamlined process on land to ensure that everyone – no matter where they are in the world – enjoys the same quality of herring that we do. It’s a challenge, but one that the Norwegian fishing industry is poised to meet. Centuries of fishing expertise, combined with our country’s investment in research and equipment, enables us to push the boundaries when it comes to preserving fish over long distances.
Norwegian value chain
Keeping it cool
As soon as the herring is lifted out of the water, it is swiftly cooled on board and brought to shore. The proximity of the catching areas to our shores keeps our fish fresh, as it enables our fishermen to make multiple trips and reduces the amount of time that the fish is stored onboard the vessel. Once aboard, the herring is kept in sophisticated holding tanks (a large vessel can hold 12-16 large tanks), which use refrigerated seawater (RSW) to keep the fish at a temperature of around 0°C.
Gently does it
Once on shore, the fish is filleted or packed whole and frozen immediately. We have specific facilities for pelagic fish, which makes the process gentle and swift. Everything is automated, enabling the facilities to handle large volumes quickly. This keeps the herring at the optimum temperature, which is crucial to maintaining our high quality standards.
Sealed for freshness
The Norwegian fishing industry is continuously looking for new ways to preserve freshness for our customers, and vacuum bags are just one of our recent innovations.
The herring fillets/flaps are packed in vacuum bags with a seawater-based brine. The salt prevents the herring from being damaged by oxidation, which provides a longer storage life and helps to preserve quality.
Three pillars of the Norwegian process
Preserved through technological advantage
Investing in new technologies preserves the premium quality given to us by nature
Hi-tech fleet and facilities and years of experience
From smoked kippers to salty roll mops, herring is enjoyed in a variety of different ways around the world. We create a whole host of products to make preparing delicious herring recipes even easier.
To make Matjes, the ”virgin herring”, you have to use the high quality raw material North Sea herring. The herring can only be caught for a few weeks in June, just outside of the Southern Norwegian coast, before it has spawned for the first time. At this time it is a small and particularly fatty herring, perfect to make matjes. It is important that it has fed on the copepod Calanus, which makes the herrings belly full of enzymes. Upon arrival at the processing facilities on shore, the herring is quickly and gently pumped ashore, before going in to production. First of all the herring is gilled, which means removing the gills and part of the innards from the fish. The pancreas is left, as enzymes stored in this affects the flavor and the ripening of the fish meat. Then the herrings are placed in barrels of slightly salted brine, where it remains to ripen in about a day. To stop the ripening process, the herring is then frozen. This special kind of lightly salted herring has an especially mild and soft flavor, and a texture that melts on your tongue. The largest markets for Norwegian matjes herring are Holland, Germany and Belgium.
Fact: The name Matjes comes from the Dutch word “maagd,” which means virgin. All real Matjes herrings has to be caught in their youth, before they have spawned for the first time.
After making high quality fresh fillets of herring, some Norwegian producers also make skinless pieces of herring with different sizes and cuts. They can then be cured in salted/spiced/vinegar brine or marinades, in large barrels. Some of these brines are made from specific requests from customers, and they are highly secret. The herring is then stored in barrels for several months, to obtain an exquisite flavor and a tender consistency. Earlier one used special wooden barrels for this storage, but today it is most common with plastic barrels. These herring products can be made as semi-finished products for further processing, or as ready to eat products packed in consumer packaging.
Herring is most commonly sold as a frozen product, either whole, in fillets or as flaps. A selection of the Norwegian herring fillets are marinated or semi-preserved in a mixture of salt, acetic acid and spices (as required).
Placing your order
Herring is graded and sold by size:
Norwegian herring is typically packaged in 20kg cartons. Cartons weighing 10kg or less are usually available on request.