Are herring safe to eat?

In this brief article, we will answer the questions, are herring safe to eat, what are herrings, what are the benefits of eating herrings, and what is their nutrient composition. We will also explore how you can rear herrings and also prepare them. 

Are herring safe to eat? 

Herring are safe for consumption. They are commonly found on seas. Herring fish are forage feeders and are a great source of food for humans. Herring eggs are not edible as they precipitate the emergence of cholera. 

What are herrings?

Herrings are a small type of fish of the genus Clupeidae. They move to schools. They are mainly found in the shallow, temperate waters of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They are also known as silver darlings. 

They grow to a maximum length of forty-six centimeters. There are a lot of variations of the herring species, over 200 species. They reproduce by laying eggs that clump together at the sea bottom and spawn each month.

The eggs are 1-1.4mm in diameter and are laid in large quantities of about 20,000-40,000 eggs. The egg’s skin is shallow so as to provide enough oxygen to the larva. The larva is colorless except for the eyes that are pigmented. This avoids predation by other species. 

Herrings consume phytoplankton(small algae), copepods, arrow worms, pelagic amphipods, mysids, and krill. These are mainly found in the pelagic zone. 

They swim in schools that are equally spaced and the space between each fish is the same. They are predated upon by whales, sea birds, swordfish, sailfish, thresher and spinner sharks, and dolphins. 

What are the benefits of eating herrings?

They are rich in long chains of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help in improving cognitive health by promoting brain cell regeneration and division. They also aid in skin restoration through improved cell division and differentiation. 

They are rich in vitamin D which promotes the uptake of calcium, magnesium, and phosphates in the body. The uptaken minerals are essential in the body for growth and development. 

They are also a good delicacy to prepare. They provide a variety of dishes such as avruga caviar, bloater, brathering, buckling, dressed herring, fish sandwich, gibbling, herring roe, kipper, herring soup, rollmops, and herring spawn among others. 

What is the nutrient composition of herring?

They are rich in calcium. Calcium is required in the body to increase bone density and also increase the strength of the bones. Herrings are rich in fatty acids such as omega-3 acids, which are responsible for cell restoration and improving cognitive health. 

They are also a good source of proteins that provide the necessary amino acids in the body. They serve as the building blocks of the body and also repair broken tissues in the body. They have low-calorie content and zero carbohydrates. 

How are herrings prepared?

Herrings are prepared in several methods as listed below:

  • They can be eaten raw. They are served with onions. They are common in spring in the Netherlands. They are first preserved by freezing and then subjected to curing. They are called whitebait. 
  • They can be salted to form spekesild. Most common in Norway. 
  • They can be fermented to form a delicacy called surstromming. 
  • They can be pickled. Pickled herrings are a delicacy in Britain, Dutch, Canada, Germany, Nordic, Poland, and Jewish countries. They are first salted and then seasoned. 
  • They are also dried and eaten with garlic rice and eggs. 
  • They are also smoked to form kippers and bloaters. 

For more recipes visit here. 

How to rear herrings?

Herrings are not domesticable and thus cannot be reared on a small scale. They require large water bodies for growth and reproduction. 


In this brief article, we have answered the questions, are herring safe to eat, what are herrings, what are the benefits of eating herrings, and what is their nutrient composition. We have also explored how you can rear herrings and also prepare them.

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