Herring are forage fish, mostly belonging to the family Clupeidae. Herring often move in large schools around fishing banks and near the coast, found particularly in shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans, including the Baltic Sea, as well as off the west coast of South America. Three species of Clupea (the type genus of the herring family Clupeidae) are recognised, and provide about 90% of all herrings captured in fisheries. The most abundant of all is the Atlantic herring, providing over half of all herring capture. Fish called herring are also found in the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Bay of Bengal.

Herring played a pivotal role in the history of marine fisheries in Europe and early in the 20th century, their study was fundamental to the 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 are also known as “silver darlings”. The main herring fishing season runs from June to August. The high-fat fish are then particularly tender and are preferably refined into matjes.

The herring is a schooling fish. It becomes up to 40 centimeters long and can reach an age of around 20 years. Due to their shiny appearance, schools of herring can often be seen with the naked eye on the open sea. The back of the herring glows under water from yellow-green to blue-green to blue-black. His belly is white, the flanks have a silver sheen. On dry land, however, the fish is rather inconspicuous. Herring live on animal plankton and are often prey to other sea creatures themselves. The spawning times of the various herring stocks are spread over the whole year. For example, the “Herbstlaicher” is very thin at the beginning of the year. If the sea becomes warmer, the herring’s food supply increases and it continuously accumulates fat. In August it has the highest fat content and now begins to produce milk (seeds) and roe (eggs). After spawning in autumn, this cycle starts again.

The meat of the herring has a strong, characteristic taste and a firm lamellar structure.

Herring is not only found in the North and Baltic Seas, but also in the entire North Atlantic from Norway to Greenland to the coast of North Carolina.


In commercial fishing, herring is caught on the high seas with trawls and purse seine. With the help of an echo sounder, schools of fish are detected and the direction of catch is calculated exactly. Herring is caught near the coast with gill nets, directly on the coast with bank seine and bunch twine.


The main fishing season for North Sea herring is from June to August. The herrings caught during this time are particularly tender and tasty and are therefore often used to make herring specialties.


Salted Smoked Split Herring (Gutted)
Grades vary depending in season.
Available in:

  • 81 to 120 Fish per 18 pounds (8.18 kg) Box
  • 61 to 80 Fish per box
  • Less than 61 fish per box
Salted Smoke Choice Herring
Grades vary depending the season:
Available in:

  • 80 to 120 Fish per 18 pounds (8.18 kg) Box
  • 61 to 80 Fish per box
  • Less than 61 fish per box
Smoked Herring Fillet
Available in: 10 pounds net, packed in wooden or waxed carton boxes.

Caught from Atlantic cold water in the Southeastern shores of New Brunswick, Canada, the fresh herring is cured in brine for 6-7 days using coarse natural salt, then desalted lightly, smoked and dried slowly over smoldering fire using local soft and hard wood and sawdust.

The smoking process is approximately 5 to 6 weeks, depending on the weather, and is an old age tradition from the southeast shores of New Brunswick, Canada handed down from generations. The tradition guarantees a product with a unique flavor and of excellent quality. Products are high in protein and have become famous in many countries across the world.


Traditional method of packaging smoked herring is in an 18 pounds wooden box. Packaging will facilitate handling and storage with minimum space damage or spoilage of product. Fillet is packed in wooden boxes or waxed carton boxes.


Products can be shipped in dry or reefer containers. Depending on the season, reefer containers are used for certain products.
40 Feet REEFER containers of loads 2816 wooden boxes
20 Feet Reefer LOAD 1320 wooden boxes


Without being refrigerated, smoked herring can be safely stored for extended periods of time, with shelf life of up to 10 months.

The trend today is clearly towards small and ever finer matjes delicacies, which are establishing themselves alongside the classics such as “Matjes housewife style”. These include, for example, pickled matjes specialties, to which unusual, fine flavors such as wild garlic or sherry give a very special flavor.

Classically, after the herring is caught in May, June and July, the herring is refined into herring by grooving, gutting and salting it: soaking in brine allows the taste to mature optimally. The gills are removed when throating and the innards when gutting – only the pancreas remains in the fish. The natural enzymes contained in the pancreas allow the fresh fish meat of the herrings to mature into incomparably tender herring. In the meantime, this traditional method has been supplemented by numerous preparation variations: Today, Matjes is also refined with a smoke aroma or combined in many different ways with fine ingredients.

The main fishing area for herring herring is the central North Sea, but other areas are also fished, such as the north coast off Scotland or the southern waters of Norway.

Herring is one of the most versatile fish. Due to its high fat content, the green (fresh) herring is particularly suitable for roasting and grilling. It is also often placed in differently seasoned marinades or salted. Matjes herring are a very special category and are served either neat or dressed with sauce (e.g. housewife-style matjes or with bacon stick) with simple side dishes such as jacket potatoes. Matjes also tastes delicious as tartare.
By the way, there are two types of Matjes, the “real Matjes” which is partially excluded (the pancreas stays in the fish) and matures only with the addition of salt, as well as the “Nordic Matjes”, which is made with maturing enzymes and, in addition to salt, also with sugar and herbs and spices is added at will.
North Sea herring has an extremely high vitamin D content. This “bone vitamin” supports the storage of calcium in the skeleton and is particularly important for the elderly and breastfeeding women.
that no other fish in history has had such great economic importance as herring. In the Middle Ages he often saved people from famine. Wars were fought because of him and the rise of the Hanseatic League was closely linked to this fish. Herring and herring products make up around a fifth of the fish supply in Germany today.
How the Bismarck herring got its name? The overweight chancellor was prescribed a herring diet by his personal physician. This was “sponsored” by a Stralsund canned fish manufacturer with a keg of pickled herring, combined with the request to be allowed to sell this product under the name of “Bismarck Herring” in the future

According to legend, the name “Matjes” has its roots in the Dutch word for “girl” – “Meisjes”. Matjes is also known as “virgin herring”, which means: herrings that are processed into matjes have not yet formed any milk or roe, but at the same time they have acquired a high fat content in preparation for reproduction. Ideally, the herring that is processed into matjes is three to five years old.

The best matjes has a fat content of at least 12 to 28 percent, making it one of the most fatty fish. However, these are long-chain unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids on the one hand and monounsaturated fatty acids on the other.

In the past, herrings were only put in salt because they could be preserved for a longer time. Much more salt was used than in modern matjes production. That is why it had to be soaked in water before consumption to make it palatable. Today just enough salt is used to give the matjes its characteristic and aromatic taste.

Basically, the combination of herring and onions is quite tasty. However, since the aroma of matjes is very sensitive, it should not be stored or served covered with onions – this would disturb the fine taste of the fish. That’s why: Matjes and onions are always served separately!



In the old style, Matjes is enjoyed like this: The fillets are grasped by the tail fin and lifted over the head. The head is tilted back and then you let the matjes slide into your mouth with relish. Alternatively, the fish is simply cut into bite-sized pieces with a knife and fork.

Matjes is undoubtedly loved hot – but stored and consumed cool, because matjes and warmth or even heat do not go well. When buying it, you should make sure that the matjes you have bought is put back in a cool and dark place as soon as possible. And the same applies to the preparation: Do not heat the delicate delicacy or cook it at the same time, but only add it to the dish at the very end or serve as a side dish.

Fresh, original Dutch matjes should be eaten on the day of purchase, but no later than the next day, whereby it must be kept in the refrigerator until consumption.
Matjes in oil can be kept open in the refrigerator for around two to three days. In the case of unopened goods, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging.

Matjes, also called “real” Matjes or “Dutch style”, are whole, grooved herrings. This means that the gills and entrails have been removed with the exception of the pancreas. The enzymes contained in the pancreas cause natural ripening, which transforms the raw herring fish meat into the incomparably tender, almost creamy matjes herring.

The fish are marinated in mild brine and mature for a week, which gives them their characteristic taste of sea salt and herring aroma. After filleting, herring is frozen because the salt content is so low that it would not be sufficient to preserve the fish meat. Due to the “cold sleep” that matjes is put into in this way, the optimal state of enjoyment is maintained for a long time. This means that herring “Dutch style” is available all year round in consistently high quality.


Matjes “Nordic style”, on the other hand, describes a herring fillet that is refined with salt, sugar, acidulants and partly – mostly vegetable – enzymes, the so-called ripening agents. This variety tends to have a firmer consistency and is usually cheaper in price.