Atlantic herring

Atlantic Herring

Varðin is a leading provider of superior Atlantic herring, that is handled with the utmost care to ensure quality and freshness. We have a large herring quota for stable and reliable delivery.

Available forms: whole round, flaps
Freezing method: 
horizontal plate and IQF freezing
Method of catch: trawler, seiner
Fat content:
10% – 25%
Size (grams
 WR: 200+, 250+, 300+, 350+, 380+, 400+, 425+, 450+
(pcs/kg) Flaps: 4-7. 5-8
 (blocks per carton)2 x 14,5 kg
Fishing season: September – December

Herring is a fatty fish that becomes rancid quite fast if not handled and cooled properly. Here at Varðin, we have the experience and facilities to make sure, that it doesn’t happen. We have advanced cooling systems that keep the herring at -1,5 °C from catch to freezer. This ensures superior quality and freshness.

Atlantic herring catalogue.

Gradings according to buyers’ specifications.

Blue whiting


About Atlantic herring

Atlantic herring (clupea harengus) is also known as the silver of the sea, because of its beautiful silver skin. It is a forage fish that is often seen at fishing banks and near the coast. It can grow up to 45 cm and weigh up to 1 kg. Although, when caught by Faroese fishing vessels, they usually weigh about 400 g. Atlantic herring feeds upon copepods, krill, and small fish.

Atlantic herring schools are exceptionally large, and a single school often consists of several billion individuals. Herring can be found across the entire North Atlantic in many separate stocks which stretch from areas like the Labrador Sea, the Bay of Biscay, to the Norwegian Sea. The Faroe Islands are positioned right in the middle of this geographical triangle.

Atlantic herring spawns in coastal waters and near offshore banks. A female herring spawns between 20.000 and 40.000 eggs in a single spawning season. Once fertilized, the larvae sink to the ocean floor and mature for a few weeks. Hatching time depends on ocean temperature.

Atlantic Herring
Atlantic herring

Three separate herring stocks spawn in and around Faroese waters. Ironically enough, we don’t fish much of these stocks. Faroese fishing vessels mainly fish a particular kind of herring that goes by many names, for example; Atlanto-Scandian herring, Northeast Atlantic (NEA) herring, and Norwegian spring-spawning (NSS) herring. As one of the names implies, this herring stock spawns by the Norwegian coast during spring. In the summer it comes to Faroese waters to feed in our rich, nutritious ocean. From September to December Faroese fishing vessels catch the NEA herring before the stock travels back to Norwegian waters.

Atlantic herring is a fragile fish because of its delicate gills and sensitive scales. Herring generally retreats from polluted areas. It’s said that the presence of herring larvae indicates a healthy marine habitat as they only thrive in clean and well-oxygenated waters. This might explain why so many herring stocks spawn near the Faroese coast, as our ocean is one of the cleanest on Earth.

Herring is one of the most important fish in the North Atlantic. Many fish species, whales, seals, and birds depend upon herring as it is a vital part of their diet. It is one of the most important fish in European history. At times during the last millennium, herring has almost single-handedly fed the entire continent. During the Middle Ages herring was one of the most sought after and traded commodities.

Nutrition and health benefits of Atlantic herring

Atlantic herring is a fatty fish that should be considered a part of every healthy diet. It is excellent for human consumption, because of its high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, selenium, and vitamin D, which have numerous health benefits. The vitamin levels vary depending on the fat content. It’s at its best when caught in the fall and winter because of ideal fat content and intermuscular fat distribution, which results in great taste and texture.

Atlantic herring is a so-called superfood because of its high content of Omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming healthy amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids can help:

  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Help regulate blood cholesterol
  • Help reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis
  • Improve mental health and help slow the rate of cognitive decline
Atlantic mackerel rich in omega-3

Culinary versatility of Atlantic herring

Herring is a delicious and versatile fish that can be prepared in numerous ways. It’s well suited for the grill, frying pan and boiling pot. In the Faroe Islands, it is very popular to preserve herring by pickling, curing, or smoking it. It because before freezers were invented, it was the only way to prolong herrings short self-life, and thus especially pickled herring has become a main stable of Faroese food culture.

Try Faroese chef, Gutti Winther’s recipe for fried herring on rye bread