Herring | Śledź

Сельдь | Херинга | Haringa | Sleď | Hering | Hering | Харинга | Hering

Herring are forage fish, mostly belonging to the family Clupeidae. They often move in large schools around fishing banks and near the coast. The most abundant and commercially important species belong to the genus Clupea, found particularly in shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea, as well as off the west coast of South America. Three species of Clupea are recognized, and provide about 90% of all herrings captured in fisheries. Most abundant of all is the Atlantic herring, providing over half of all herring capture.

Herring played a pivotal role in the history of marine fisheries in Europe, and early in the twentieth century their study was fundamental to evolution of fisheries science. These oily fish also have a long history as an important food fish, and are often salted, smoked, or pickled.

Herring is the common name for any of the various fish comprising the Clupeiformes family Clupeidae, a large family that includes many of the most important food fishes in the world, including the European pilchard (true sardine), Atlantic menhaden, Atlantic herring, Pacific herring, Baltic herring, and the American or Atlantic shad. Although primarily marine, a number of species are freshwater, and some, like the American shad, are anadromous, migrating from their saltwater habitat to freshwater to spawn. Generally five subfamilies are recognized, with about 66 genera and 216 species. Most members of Clupeidae are small fish and form schools.

While herring generally is the term used for members of the family, the term sometimes is used more specifically to refer to members of the subfamily Clupeinae, which also includes sardines, or the genus Clupea (true herrings). This article will focus on the entire herring family.

Herring are among the most important fish groups on the planet. They are the dominant converter of the enormous production of zooplankton, utilizing the biomass of copepods, mysids, and krill in the pelagic zone. Small herring also feed on phytoplankton, and large herrings feed on small fish and fish larvae. On the other side of the food chain, they are a central prey item for higher trophic levels, including seabirds, dolphins, pinnipeds, whales, sharks, swordfish, tuna, cod, salmon, and numerous other large fish.

In the human diet they also are very important, being harvested for their nutritious meat and eggs. They have been a known staple food source since 3000 B.C.E. In The Netherlands, herring have played a major role in historical and economic development dating back to the fourteenth century. Sometimes moving in vast schools, herring are caught, salted, and smoked in great quantities. These values reflect the concept of bi-level functionality, whereby herring not only provide a function for the individual (survival and reproduction of the species, etc.) but also benefit the ecosystem and human beings.

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