Herring Improvement Profile

More than a third of worldwide herring production is certified, rated, or in a FIP, and much of that is certified. Our improvement efforts prioritize herring fisheries that are:

  • Red-rated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program (see all herring ratings here); or
  • Within the scope of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s Target 75 Initiative

A baseline step businesses can take to accelerate progress in improving performance is to prioritize the purchase of certified or Best Choice herring and encourage suppliers to pursue improvements. The collaboration is focused on improving the performance of herring fisheries by building on promising NGO and industry initiatives.

Marine Stewardship Council

There are many MSC certified herring fisheries globally. As part of the MSC program, fisheries are required to make improvements to close out conditions, and continue to meet global best practice. Sourcing from these fisheries shows support for those improvements and encourages them to continue on in the MSC program. Businesses can search the MSC ‘Find a Supplier’ tool to locate companies that sell MSC certified herring.

Seafood Watch

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program ratings are based on specific location and production method information. For detailed information, visit the Seafood Watch recommendations on herring.

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership 

SFP’s “T75” initiative is focused on ensuring that at least 75% of world production in key sectors is sustainable (i.e., certified by the MSC program, or green-listed in SFP’s Metrics tool) or making regular, verifiable improvements. For wild production:

  • Certified by one of the following programs: IFFO RS, ASMI RFM, Iceland Responsible Fisheries, Fair Trade USA
  • Or under full assessment in the MSC program
  • Or in a FIP that is making good progress (i.e., a FIP with either with a progress rating of A, B, or C using SFP’s FIP evaluation tool, or formed in the past 12 months and not yet rated)

Only a few herring species fall within the Target scope, namely those that are mostly used for reduction (e.g., thread herrings). SFP has developed a visual display of T75 progress for each of the key seafood sectors, including reduction fisheries. Please check the latest estimates here.

To learn more, visit the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s Target 75 Reduction Fisheries Sector Report and its Reduction Fisheries Supply Chain Roundtable. For detailed information, contact info@sustainablefish.org.


There are a few active herring FIPs that provide opportunities to contribute to sustainability improvements. To learn more about specific FIPs, consult the FisheryProgress.org FIP directory or the Improvement projects page of FishSource.