The West of Scotland Herring Hunt (WOSHH)

What is WOSHH?

SLRT has partnered with Edinburgh Napier University, along with a network of fisheries trusts and volunteers spanning the west coast of Scotland, to join the hunt for herring! The West of Scotland Herring Hunt (WOSHH) aims to work closely with west coast communities and organizations in order to collect information on herring, such as;

  • Historical ecological knowledge, such as from the days of the “herring boom”
  • The role of seabed substrate and spawning success
  • Historical herring catches and landings
  • Historic temperature and climate anomalies that may help to predict future trends

Information gathered from WOSHH aims to collect this information, along with visual records of herring activity, in order to build a database of knowledge on this key species.

More information on the project can be found here.


Historically, herring fishing has provided an invaluable resource to Scotland; generating income, societal change, and growth across the country for centuries. However, the populations of this crucial species has been declining. Atlantic Herring require a very specific seabed habitat to spawn on, and so protecting these vital areas and ensuring that they are available during spawning time will assist with population recovery.

WOSHH aims to collect information and local knowledge, to identify and provide evidence for the conservation, restoration, and protection of spawning habitat on the west coast of Scotland; from the Clyde in the south, up to Cape Wrath in the North. More information about the WOSHH project can be found on the poster below, or here.

Get to know the species!

Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) are small, streamlined fish. On average, their length is 20-25cm, however, the largest individuals can reach a length of approximately 45cm. The majority of individuals have a weight of approximately 0.68kg, however, the heaviest fish can reach a weight of up to 1.05kg.

Their bodies may be small, but due to their streamlined forms they are incredibly fast; this helps them when finding food, and avoiding predation.

Atlantic herring are closely related to sardines, shads, and pilchards. With these species all having similar characteristics;

Anatomy of an Atlantic Herring, Skye and Lochalsh Rivers Trust

  • Absent or weakly developed teeth
  • Large mouth and lower jaw
  • Smooth and uniform scales which are shed easily
  • Short dorsal fin
  • No adipose fin present
  • Lateral line either short or not present
  • Fins are soft rather than bony
salmon sketch subject to copyright s. mckenzie

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