Why Is Herring So Hard to Find?

A Movement Is Under Way to Bring Back the Bony Fish—Once a Staple of the Seattle Diet and Plentiful in Puget Sound


Pickled herring, with sharp cheddar cheese on Ritz crackers.
@1: Yes please! Or smoked herring salad with beets, mayo, pickles, and mustard. Tastes delicious and it's a such cheerful shade of pink.
If you pickle them well, the bones all dissolve and you can spread it on toast.
1 can of smoked herring, an egg, some bread crumbs, diced celery - Viola! - herring burgers. The best fish burgers.
Yum !! Picked herring!
The rest of the world loves this fish? It sounds like the rest of the world is Japan and they just love the roe?
maybe they were all used to chop down the mightiest trees in the forest.
I've been a massive fan of pickled/creamed herring since I was a little kid, and I still buy a jar occasionally as a treat. OM NOM.
Actually the ROE is sent to Japan from Alaska, but the "herring" is generally not. It is sent to the blast freezers to be used as bait for other fisheries.
In one of those "wheels within wheels" ecology moments, my bio prof explained a big part of what happened to the NW salmon stocks, and it has a lot to do with herring. It seems that the whole of our coastline, from Mexico to Alaska, used to have huge kelp beds - bull kelp.

The kelp forests were where baby herring went after they hatched, to hide from predators, feed and grow. Eventually they would mature a bit and venture out from the kelp by the billions, only to be eaten by the salmon.

Along comes the white man, who took a hankering to sea otter pelts, and the supply of sea otters was soon depleted. Sea otters eat sea urchins. Sea urchins eat the roots of bull kelp. Without sea otters to keep the sea urchins in check, the huge mats of kelp that once blanketed our coasts disappeared, as did the nursery for the herring.

No herring, no food for salmon. And, apparently, no food for people who like to eat herring either.
Wanna know why there is no Puget Sound herring fishery? In the early 80's me and my employers finished wiping out the fishery through over fishing. In addition we were prevented from harvesting herring roe.
Herring may be harder to find but it is easier to buy seafood at the local supermarket today than it was 30 years ago. To be sure, variety still sucks in most stores (besides at Uwajimaya and a few other places). Despite being right on the water and being a major port city, Seattle doesn't have much of a culture of the sea and people just don't eat fish beside salmon. Most Seattleites could live 100's miles inland and it wouldn't make any difference to their lives.
There used to be widespread pickled herring consumption in Ballard but for the most part people around here use herring as bait to catch salmon.
@6 Northern Europe loves some herring. I live in Holland; at the end of my street a family run herring cart sets up on Fridays and Saturdays. Opa is usually cleaning the things while Oma handles the customers; sometimes their kids are there instead working the cart. Frequently, 3 generations are hanging around. I walk down with my daughters pretty often to get a couple of haring broodjes (i.e. herring on a soft roll. Mine with raw finely-diced white onion; plain for the girls.) The fish itself is lightly pickled in the typically Dutch way; more like sushi than the stuff you get in the jar at Ikea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soused_herr…

The new season starts next week, actually. Looking forward to it.

Smoked Herring on House made Flat bread
By Chef Willem Reinders of Sogno di Vino, Poulsbo, WA

Willem knows more than a thing or two about fresh herring this is a new preparation for Seattle Herring Week 2015.

He is both a native of the Netherlands and the former Chef of the Swedish Club in Seattle.

Here is his riff on freshly smoked herring that you can try this week at
Sogno di Vino in Poulsbo, WA.
18830 Front Street NE,
Poulsbo, WA 98370

You can Purchase Fresh Frozen Herring Fillets down the street at
Marina Market
18882 Front Street
Poulsbo, WA 98370

Makes enough for 4 Flat breads


4 Herring Fillets

1 cup Kosher Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 Orange
1Tbsp chopped Thyme

1 Cup Pickled Beets
1 Cucumber
1 cup of Cantaloupe Cubes or Melon balls
½ cup Ricotta

5 oz Kale and Arugula Leaves

Lemon Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp Preserved Lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
4 Flat breads

Mix all the ingredients of the cure and sprinkle over the herring fillets on the “sliced “ side of the fillet. Let cure for 15 minutes.

Rinse off the cure and let the Herring fillets on a rack in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Smoke the Herring fillets for about 30 minutes in a smoker with the wood chips of your choice. Cool the fillets in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Mix the preserved lemon, lemon juice and olive oil.
Put the Kale and Arugula leaves in a bowl and toss with the preserved lemon vinaigrette.

Sprinkle the Salad over the flat breads, Slice the smoked herring fillets in bite size pieces and arrange the over the flat breads.

Finish with arranging the sliced cucumber, sliced pickled beets and dollops of ricotta over the flat bread.