The humble herring once determined the fate of kings and empires. The powerful Hanseatic League of Germany and Scandinavia collapsed in the 15th century when herring stopped spawning in the Baltic Sea. Treaties worth millions of dollars were negotiated for herring rights in the New World. But, in America, herring was strictly a food of the laboring class for several decades, starting with the Boston Irish in the 1880s. The American palate is most accustomed to herring as canned sardines. There are two types of commercially important herring. Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus harengus) is found across the North Atlantic; Pacific herring (C. harengus pallasi) range from northern California to Alaska and from eastern Russia south to Japan. Herring is gillnetted, seined and caught with midwater trawls. The fish is also trapped in shore-based weirs in New Brunswick, Canada and Maine. Market size is 5 to 9 inches.
Images and data provided by SeafoodSource. To view the entire Seafood Handbook, visit SeafoodSource.com.