MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Clupea harengus is a streamlined shoaling fish. It may reach up to 40 cm in length and 0.68 kg in weight. The overall colouring of the body is silver but a darker blue iridescence is present over the upper half of the body. The underside is considerably paler. The body is deeper than it is wide, which improves the streamlined nature of the fish. The tail is deeply forked and has a single dorsal fin. The pelvic fins are situated slightly in front of the line of the dorsal fin. These, as well as the pectoral fins are not bony, like in many other fish, but are soft.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

The Atlantic herring is widespread in UK and Irish waters, occurring in the North Sea, the English Channel, the Irish Sea as well as the Northern Atlantic.

Global distribution

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Habitat

Clupea harengus is pelagic in its distribution and occurs in the surface waters down to a depth of around 200 m. Outside of the spawning season, Clupea harengus stays away from the immediate coastal areas. It is often found in vast near-surface shoals covering an area of several square kilometers.

Depth range

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Identifying features

  • Streamlined, shoaling, pelagic species.
  • Overall silver colouring but with darker blue upper half.
  • Up to 40 cm in length and 0.68 kg in weight.
  • Deeply forked tail and single dorsal fin.

Additional information

Clupea harengus is a highly commercial marine fish and is being threatened by over-harvesting by commercial fishing fleets (Whitehead, 1985). Maturity is reached between the ages of 3 and 9 years. Atlantic herring predominantly feeds on small shrimps or copepods but is also known to filter-feed should the need arise.

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Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2008-02-18

  2. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Helfman, G., Colette, B. & Facey, D., 1997. The diversity of fishes. Blackwell Publishing. Oxford, UK.

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  5. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.

  6. Whitehead, P.J.P. 1985. Clupeoid Fishes of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of the Herrings, Sardines, Pilchards, Sprats, Shads, Anchovies and Wolf-herring; Part 1 - Chirocentridae, Clupeidae and Pristigasteridae. FAO, 125. Rome, Italy.

  7. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Datasets

  1. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: http://www.ericnortheast.org.uk/home.html accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-38

  2. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01

  3. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2015. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/xtrbvy accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  4. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/7axhcw accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  5. Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, 2017. Fish: Records for Kent.. Occurrence dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/kd1utk accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  6. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  7. Lancashire Environment Record Network, 2018. LERN Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/esxc9a accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  8. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2017. Isle of Man wildlife records from 01/01/2000 to 13/02/2017. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/mopwow accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  9. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  10. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  11. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/opc6g1 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  12. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2018-12-11

  13. Outer Hebrides Biological Recording, 2018. Vertebrates (except birds, INNS and restricted records), Outer Hebrides. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/dax3tf accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  14. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Fish (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/htsfiy accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

  15. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, 2018. UK casual records from members of BASC - 1980 onwards. Occurance dataset: https://basc.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-02.

  16. West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre, 2017. WTSWW Data: All Taxa (West Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/gaakk2 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Clupea harengus Atlantic herring. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 11-12-2018]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/45

Last Updated: 27/03/2008