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herring Introduction
Herring is an oily fish, which belongs to the genus Clupea. These fishes are found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. The two of the species of Clupea are recognized, they are; the Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) and the Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii). These two are further divided into subspecies. Herrings move in vast schools in search of food. They come to the shores of Europe and America in spring, and here they are caught, salted, smoked, marinated and creamed.

The 200 species of herrings belong to the family Clupeidae. They all have unique distinguishing characteristics. These fishes have an important characteristic that they have a single dorsal fin with no lateral line. Their dorsal fins do not have spines unlike other fishes. Some of the species are found to have pointed scales. Herring fish are also distinguished by a protruding lower jaw, which looks like the jaw of a bull-dog. The herrings are beautiful silver-colored fish. These fishes have a small head and laterally flattened sleek and slender body. The flashing silver color of the herring's body helps to conceal them in the surrounding water. Thus, it provides protection to them against sea predators, but the same feature helps humans to catch them. Their tail is bifurcated and looks like a fork. Atlantic herring is the most common species of herring, and can grow up to 18 inches in length, while the pacific herring grows to a length of about 15 inches. The Atlantic herring generally weighs up to 1.5 pounds.

Herring fish feed on minute organisms like planktons, crustaceans and fish larvae. The young ones of these species feed primarily on Phytoplanktons, whereas, the adults feed on zooplanktons, like pteropods, copepods and other small crustaceans, small fish, fish larvae, and even small animals. The herrings have a very interesting characteristic that they keep their mouths open while swimming and in the process filter the planktons, which pass through their gills.

Herring fishes get mature for reproduction when they are around (4-9) years old. These fishes have a life span of (12 to 16 years).They spawn in the mid-summer and December, and this is the ideal time for herring to spawn. The eggs, which are laid by the female herrings, are deposited on rocks or seaweed. These eggs normally take about two weeks to hatch. The young ones of these species generally reach adulthood in about 4 years.

Other Facts about Herring Fish
Herring fish often swim in groups, which is referred as schooling. They normally move in groups or schools in the same direction to the shore, to spawn and then disperse after spawning. When they swim in vast schools, they fall victim as food to the large predators like whales, sharks, cod, tuna, dolphins, etc. Herring fish are also commonly known as forage fish, as they provide the base of the food chain and hence, serve as the foods for the predators. In addition, an important fact about herring fish is that they have been an important source of food for humans since 3000 B.C. Their varieties can be fermented herring, smoked herring, pickled herring, cured herring and these are also eaten raw. Apart from this, these herrings are also used for manufacturing fish oil. The herring fish oil serve as a good source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.