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Norwegian spring spawning herrings, Ålesund aquarium, Norway
The Norwegian spring spawning herring population is one of the biggest migrating biomasses in the world (sometimes compared with the biomass of all elephants in the world). The official Norwegian fishery site describes it as a highly migratory stock that is distributed throughout large parts of the North-East Atlantic during its lifespan. The herring spawns along the Norwegian west coast in February to March. The larvae drift north and northeast to the Norwegian coast and the Barents Sea, where the main areas for immature fish are found. Most of the young herring leave the Barents Sea as three years of age and feed off northern Norway for two years, before recruiting to the spawning stock at 5 years old.
The Norwegian spring spawning herring is a very important species in the ecosystems which it inhabits. It preys on Calanus finmarchicus and is itself an important prey for other species such as cod, saithe and other demersal species, in addition to sea birds and whales. Large numbers of killer whales follow the herring during its migration.
The Norwegian Spring Spawning herring stock is at a sustainable level and some fisheries are MSC certified.