Herring or sild

Clupea harengus

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Pelagic trawl
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — Irish, Celtic Sea and Southwest of Ireland
Stock detail — VIIa (south), VIIg,h,j,k
Certification — Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Picture of Herring or sild

Sustainability rating three info

Sustainability overview

The spawning stock biomass for herring in this area has been decreasing significantly since its peak in 2011, and is now below MSY Btrigger and close to Blim, the lowest observed level. Fishing pressure is also too high. The fishery is relatively clean, has no impact on the seabed and is well managed in line with the precautionary approach. A long term management plan for this stock has been agreed by the Irish industry in 2011 and a rebuilding plan has been in place since 2009. The CSHMAC pelagic pair trawl fishery for herring in the Celtic Sea was certified as an environmentally responsible fishery in March 2012.

Biology

Herring belongs to the same family of fish (clupeids) as sprat and pilchard. It can grow to greater than 40 cm, although size differs between races (distinct breeding stocks). Most herring landed are around 25 cm. Herring are sexually mature at between 3-9 years (depending on stock) and populations include both spring and autumn spawners. At least one population in UK waters spawns in any one month of the year. Herring have an important role in the marine ecosystem, as a transformer of plankton at the bottom of the food chain to higher trophic or feeding levels, e.g. for cod, seabirds and marine mammals. It is also considered to have a major impact on other fish stocks as prey and predator and is itself prey for seabirds and marine mammals in the North Sea and other areas. Herring spawning and nursery areas are sensitive to anthropogenic or human influences such as sand and gravel extraction.

Stock information

Stock Area

Irish, Celtic Sea and Southwest of Ireland

Stock information

The spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has been decreasing significantly since its peak in 2011, and is now below MSY Btrigger and close to Blim. The fishing mortality (F) has increased since 2008 and is now above FMSY. Recruitment has been below average since 2013.

ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applied, catches in 2018 should be no more than 5445 tonnes. ICES also advises, under precautionary considerations, that activities that have an impact on the spawning habitat of herring should not occur, unless the effects of these activities have been assessed and shown not to be detrimental.

Management

A long term management plan for this stock was agreed by the Irish industry in 2011 and has been used by managers since 2012. A rebuilding plan has been in place since 2009. Regulations include closed spawning areas, allowing recruit spawners to contribute to the fishery before they are captured. The CSHMAC pelagic pair trawl fishery for herring in the Celtic Sea was certified as an environmentally responsible fishery in March 2012.

Capture Information

100% of the catch in the area is taken by pelagic trawl. Human consumption fisheries for herring are considered relatively clean, with little bycatch of other fish. A decline in the market for roe has led to decreased slipage (discards). The minimum landing size for herring in EU waters is 20cm (18cm in Skagerrak/Kattegat), maturity is at around 17cm. There has been considerable efficiency or technical creep in the fishery since the 1980s with greater ability to locate fish.

References

ICES (2017) http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2017/2017/her.27.irls.pdf; https://fisheries.msc.org/en/fisheries/cshmac-celtic-sea-herring-trawl/@@view (Last accessed July 2017).