Catching herring at its best

Herring is a pelagic fish and it spends its entire life on the move. It migrates throughout the year, swimming to special feeding and spawning grounds – it will even travel to new locations to grow. Hence, where and when you catch herring has a big impact on the way it tastes. By the time the shoals swim past the Norwegian coast the herring is large, fatty and full of flavour. We call this the premium catch period. 

Knowing where to look

Herring is at its most delicious when the fat content is at its highest. The fat content varies between 10% and 25% throughout the year, so it’s important to catch herring in the right place and at the right time – and this depends on the type of herring you are looking for.

North Sea herring spawns from August to January in Dogger Bank. Norwegian spring spawning herring spawns between February and March and is at its best in the autumn. On the other hand, the premium catch period of the North Sea herring is in the summer, when it migrates close to the Norwegian coastline.

Norwegian spring spawning herring

Premium catch period for Norwegian spring spawning herring
Catch areas for Norwegian spring spawning herring

North Sea herring

The premium catch period for North Sea herring
Main catch areas for North Sea herring

Herring is a seasonal treat and in Holland they celebrate the "maatjes" arrival with a festival. They even send the first catch of the year to their Queen. 

A heritage of fishing expertise

Norwegians have been fishing for herring for centuries, so it should come as no surprise that we have the process down to an art form. We use the latest electronic sonar equipment to locate the fish and then our expert fishermen set to work reeling them in. The most common method we use is a purse seine, a large scooped netting contraption designed to encircle a shoal of fish. A wire then pulls the purse seine inwards and draws the opening down. This enables the fishermen to pull the fish onto the ship.  

Our ships are kitted out with all of the latest technology and fish can be cooled to 0˚C within just a few minutes. In 2015, Norway exported around 220 000 metric tonnes of herring, making our country by far the largest exporter of Atlantic herring. Of all the loved Norwegian herring products, our biggest exports are frozen whole, frozen fillet/flaps and marinated herring. 

To find out more about how we deliver herring to the world, please visit our dedicated markets page