What makes herring roe such a unique raw material?
The Norwegian Spring-Spawning Herring is the world’s largest herring biomass. Each year in February, the herring spawn and lay their herring roe or caviar in massive quantities, covering the entire seabed off the Møre coast with the next generation of Norwegian Herring. The total weight of the roe covering the seabed is three times as much as the weight of the entire Norwegian population¹. Only a small fraction of the herring eggs become mature fish. Many different species come to feed off the eggs and larvae, and seabirds feed on the fry and grown fish. The sea current flows as a gigantic river moving north along the coastline, carrying the herring larvae into the Barents Sea. In the Barents Sea, the herring larvae grow into small herring fish. When the herring reaches maturity at 3 to 4 years of age, it swims west again along the Norwegian coast to prepare for its first spawning cycle.
Herring has had a significant impact on the ecosystems along the coast, in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. The herring move in huge schools, of up to 500 million fish, and is an impressive sight. Herring can reach the age of 25 years and a size of 40 centimeters. It grazes on the raw cane and is an important food source for predatory fish such as cod, saithe, and other demersal fish, in addition to whales. Large herds of killer whales follow the schools of herring. The herring is food for other species throughout its entire lifespan.
Because of the vast number of herring, found along the Norwegian coast, it has been relatively easy to harvest large quantities. Herring has been one of the most important fish species and has had a great impact on the Norwegian economy and food supply. Overfishing led to quota-controlled catches from the mid-1960s. By 1970, virtually the entire spawning population had disappeared. The collapse was due to a combination of overfishing and natural population fluctuations.
Improved knowledge, enhanced fisheries management and enforcement of stricter regulations have made it possible for the herring population to return. Today the population of herring is strictly monitored to ensure a healthy and sustainable population. The Norwegian Spring Spawning Herring fisheries are certified by MSC (Marine Stewardship Council), an international non-profit organization established to ensure sustainable fishing.
Arctic Nutrition utilizes roe from the fishing that takes place during the spawning season in February. In the filleting of herring today, the roe is considered a residual raw material that can be utilized. It is only modest amounts of roe that are used for human consumption today.
Herring roe contains all the essential nutrients needed to create a new life. This is why it is a fantastic, nutritionally dense raw material. Herring roe is very nutritious with a high content of proteins and fats. Over 70% of the fat in the roe is in the form of phospholipids which in turn consists of a lot of omega 3. It is now recognized that the particular structure of the fat influences how the body uses omega-3 and that the phospholipid form is preferable to triglycerides². The majority of the fat that we consume through food are triglycerides, which tend to be utilized by the body as storage fats. Romega® differs from most other omega-3 products in the market with the high content of Omega -3 phospholipids, which are membrane fats and play an important structural and messaging role in every cell of our body.
Herring roe has great nutritional value, not only for the herring larvae that will feed off it as they grow into adult fish but also for many other animals including us humans. What a unique resource nature provides us, and it is located right off our beautiful coast. We are very proud that Norwegian Herring Roe is the main component in Romega®.
Written by Sigrun Lindhom Knardal
Quality Assurance Manager
- Lund Olsen, Åsmund. “På sporet av den tapte sild – Finn Devold og sildekollapsen“. Masteroppgave i historie Institutt for arkeologi, konservering og historie, Universitetet i Oslo (2019)
- Lagarde, M. et al. Lysophosphatidylcholine as a preferred carrier form of docosahexaenoic acid to the brain. J. Mol. Neurosci. 16, 201–221 (2001).