The first North Sea herring of the year were pumped ashore at Peterhead recently by the local midwater vessel Lunar Bow, which was landing her first shot of herring, having been completed by Kartensens shipyard in January, reports David Linkie of Fishing News.
During a short 32-hour trip fishing east of Shetland, Lunar Bow took two sort tows before landing a small shot of herring in line with market requirements at Peterhead.
On sampling at the quayside, the early-season fish were immediately approved as being maatjes herring, as anticipated.
Maatjes herring are a highly prized local delicacy in Holland. The lightly brined raw fish have been interwoven in Dutch tradition for over 600 years.
Known in Holland as maatjesharing (maiden herring), fish accepted for the highly discerning maatjes market have to meet an exacting buyer specification, which includes a high fat content and a body shape associated with the fish that has yet to use any of its body resources for reproduction.
For the last 25 years, the Peterhead company Lunar Fishing has liaised closely with the well-known Dutch company Koelewijn Seafood BV to supply maatjes herring in line with niche market requirements in Holland. This successful in-house catching, processing and marketing association is based on delivering prime-quality fish with full traceability from the well-managed and sustainable MSC-accredited North Sea herring fishery.