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Mackerel & Herring

At the centre of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean’s rich pelagic fishing grounds

Shetland’s location is perfect for landing mackerel and herring fast and fresh.

Shetland Catch, a state-of-the-art pelagic factory, has excellent landing facilities and rapid processing, and supplies the finest herring and mackerel to markets across the UK, Europe, Russia, Japan, and Africa.

Herring and mackerel fillets are sold to the UK’s supermarkets and smokehouses. 


  • Pelagic fish – caught inshore on lines in the summer months and seasonally caught by the pelagic fleet from October – November and January – February
  • A beautiful fish, with stunning green black tiger stripes
  • The athletes of the sea – they are designed for speed and distance
  • They live near the surface and follow an annual migratory path, swimming in shoals in search of food
  • Require a continual flow of water across the gills which means they have to swim constantly.


  • Pelagic fish – caught using purse, trawl or drift nets in Shetland waters
  • Spawn in the late summer
  • Migratory fish that moves in huge schools or shoals
  • Can live for up to 16 years
  • Very rich in oils, especially Vitamin D.


Female mackerel produce 200,000 to 450,000 eggs which are 0.9 to 1.4mm in diameter.

Want to buy Shetland mackerel & herring

View our list of partner suppliers



Herring means ‘army’ in Old Norse – which would go some way to explaining the way that these fish are constantly on the move

From sea to plate: mackerel and herring

Graphic indicating the mackerel journey, from sea to plate