Herrings are small, oily fish of the genus Clupea, found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Atlantic, the Baltic Sea, the North Pacific, and the Mediterranean. There are many species of herrings and they share several distinguishing characteristics. Herring have a single dorsal fin, no lateral line, and a protruding bulldog-like lower jaw. It has a smooth, slender body, with silvery skin with hints of green and blue.
Typically, herring are small, streamlined, schooling “planktivores,” or plankton-feeders (Herring survive entirely by feeding on plankton – the tiny drifters of the ocean). Herring feed at night in the upper water column, following the massive vertical migrations of zooplankton that inhabit deep waters by day and surface waters by night. They range in market size from 100-450g.
Atlantic herring mature when they reach three to four years old and migrate over great distances of open sea. They migrate to feed, to spawn, and to their winter grounds.