Herring from Fraserburgh, Scotland

Facts & figures

Conical nets
Frassrburgh, Scotland

Fraserburgh, Scotland

In the picturesque Scottish town of Fraserburgh, the harbor is filled with white-blue colored fishing boats. The village is home to around 13,000 residents whose lives are closely intertwined with fishing. One of those residents is Nicholas. Born and raised in the small fishing village, he and his crew catch the beloved herring - cherished in the Netherlands. Fishing runs in his blood, as his family has proudly been fishing for generations.

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In the early 1800s, the foundation stone of the pier was laid for a fishing harbor aimed at the catch and preservation of herring. In the years that followed, Scottish herring fishing gained a dominant role in the European market, and to this day, Fraserburgh continues to play a prominent role.

Fishing method

The herring fishermen locate dense schools of herring using sonar. They use conical nets, which they deploy behind their boats and pull through the water to catch the herring.

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The nets are raised and the herring are immediately frozen onboard to keep them extra fresh. The fishery operates year-round, but the spring catch is often particularly fatty and therefore especially sought after!


Fraserburgh is situated on the northeast coast of Scotland, just above Aberdeen. Many of its 13,000 residents fish at sea and sell their catch at the local fish market in the city or in the nearby village of Peterhead. In addition to herring, mackerel, and tuna, you'll find one of the largest shellfish markets in Europe here, along with the only museum dedicated to Scottish lighthouses!

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Herring in tomato sauce

Herring, like sardines, sprat, and anchovies, belongs to the herring family. It always swims in schools and feeds on plankton, but is also often preyed upon by larger fish. Between early March and late April, herring becomes deliciously fatty and flavorful as it spawns. We Dutch are well acquainted with fresh herring, or "Hollandse nieuwe," of course. But preserved herring is fantastic in taste and comes in the most surprising variations from factories. Our herring in tomato sauce is one such variation, requiring little else but to be served, perhaps with a good piece of bread!

"Every day at sea is different, and that's what I enjoy the most."

Nicholas Tait, a herring fisherman from Fraserburgh, caught his first fish at the age of five on a warm summer day. The high temperatures are unusual because the weather along the west coast of Scotland can be exceptional and interesting. But for Nicholas, that's what makes it exciting and engaging. Fishing is in his blood, and he's proud to pass down the tradition of herring fishing to his children and future generations, just like his father did.

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