Clupea barengus barengus (Atl.)
Clupea barengus pallasii (Pac.)
Herring form huge schools that swim through the open sea, though they also tend to move in towards shallow bays near the coast.
When caught, herrings measure 15-17 cm on average.
Fishing season: Year-round, though the catch is lower in the summer
Commercial use: Fresh, frozen, smoked or pickled
A fatty fish - the fat content varies with the season
Herring and the Haidas…
In the spring and summer, Haida communities busy themselves preparing herring roe and seaweed, the harvest of the ocean. Herring roe on seaweed, or "k'aaw," is one of the most prized foods of this people from Canada's west coast.
Herring and the Dutch
Herring seems to be part of the fabric of daily life in the Netherlands. A Dutch proverb goes "Haring in't land, dokter aan de kant," meaning "If herring is around, the doctor is far away." Since the Zuyderzee has been drained, the herring fishery has been moved out to open waters, and it's an important day when the "new Dutch" - the first herring of the year - arrive in the market, plump and flavourful. In early May the fishing fleet heads out while big celebrations are arranged in every port to await their return. Every fishing boat tries to be the first back to land, its holds laden with fish, since the first ton of salt herring unloaded is traditionally given to the Queen. The catch is sold by hawkers who push their products through the streets in brightly-decorated little two-wheeled carts. Since the herring have been boned, they can be eaten on site, raw or smoked. Hold the tail between your thumb and index finger, lift it high, throw back your head and swallow it down! In street cafés and bistros, herrings are a popular lunch item, served on toast and accompanied by a nice cold beer.
Herring and the Magdalen Islands
Once salted and smoked in huge canneries and smokehouses, herring has long been the pride of fishermen from Quebec's Magdalen Islands.
As soon as the seals and the ice are gone, the herrings arrive from the open ocean and swarm in huge schools into Placentia Bay and all the way to Havre aux Basques. Herring are generally caught with creels, or basket traps of thin cord net. Though fresh herring often appears on the tables of Madelinots during this season, the majority of it is smoked. Another part of the catch is used to fertilize the soil, but here herring plays another important role as bait, serving as lures for the big cod, lobster and mackerel fisheries.
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