We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Atlantic Herring?

By Steve R.
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), also known as the common herring, Atlantic sardine, and sperling, is a silver fish found that is plentiful in northern latitudes and has a lifespan of 15 years. The herrings live in large schools, and are one of almost 200 herring species in the Clupeidae family that contain a single dorsal fin situated in the midpoint of its body. Typically, the Atlantic herring grows to 17 inches (about 43 centimeters) in length and tips the scales at 1.5 pounds (about 0.7 kilograms). What sets the Atlantic herring apart from other species of herring is its collection of tiny teeth, organized in an oval-like fashion on the roof of its mouth.

Located in coastal and continental shelf waters in the North Atlantic Ocean, the fish are pelagic, meaning they spend the majority of their lives in the open sea, as well as along offshore banks. In the eastern Atlantic, herring can be found from the Baltic Sea to Iceland. In the western Atlantic, the fish are located from Greenland to South Carolina.

Females are capable of producing 30,000 to 200,000 eggs during their lifetime. Spawning occurs from late August to early November. Eggs are deposited on the sea floor, often on rocks, gravel, or sand. Within two weeks, the eggs hatch. By the end of their first year, a herring is about 5 inches (about 13 centimeters) in length, and doubles in size by its second year. By the age of 4 or 5, the herring reaches maturity.

During their lives, Atlantic herrings may migrate hundreds of miles. During the winter months, herrings migrate to warmer water. In the winter, many schools of herrings may unite.

The Atlantic herring, which feeds on zooplankton, krill, and fish larvae, has many predators since the fish is relatively small in stature and so plentiful in the ocean. Predators include sharks, skates, seabirds, and marine mammals. As the herring lays its eggs on the sea floor, the eggs are often eaten by bottom-dwelling fish such as cod, haddock, and flounder.

During the 1970s, the Atlantic herring's population declined due to heavy fishing. However, the population of the fish made a comeback in the 1980s thanks to imposed fishing regulations. The herring is valued for its source of omega-3s, B12, and iron. Herrings are often distributed frozen or canned as sardines across the globe. Fishermen also use the Atlantic herring for bait to catch crab, lobster, and tuna.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.