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Difference Between Herring and Sardines

Abundant in Omega 3, Herring and Sardines are among the most popular types of fish. For centuries, the two have been a dietary staple in Russians, British, Scandinavians, Germans and British. Apart from their high source of Omega 3 fatty acids, the two don’t accumulate contaminants that are common in large fish. Let’s discuss the difference between herring and sardines.

What is Herring?

These are forage fish belonging to the Clupeidae family. They live near the coast and are mostly found in shallow waters of the North Atlantic, the Pacific oceans, the west coast of South America and the Baltic sea. Herrings can be pickled, smoked and salted. Although they are a great source of Calcium, sardines have more content. 

Predators of herrings include marine mammals such as whales, sea lions, seabirds, predatory fish such as salmon, billfish, halibut and tuna. 

What is Sardines?

These are small and oily forage fish that are classified in the herring family. They can be pickled, grilled, smoked or preserved in cans. They are rich in Omega 3, minerals and vitamins, with a small serving providing 13% of the daily recommendation of Vitamin B2, 150% of the daily recommended vitamin b12 and a quarter of niacin. They are also great sources of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and trace minerals including selenium and iron. 

Similarities between herring and sardines

  • Both are oily fish hence a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Both have a delicate texture
  • Both have a less powerful flavour compared to other fish
  • Both are members of the Herring family

Differences between herring and sardines


The main difference between herring and sardines is the size. While herring can grow to approximately 1.5 feet long, sardines can grow to approximately 1.3 feet long. 

Herring vs. Sardines: Comparison Table

Summary of Herring vs. Sardines

Although both have the same outlook and are great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, herring can grow to approximately 1.5 feet long while sardines can grow to approximately 1.3 feet long.

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References :

[0]Les Bratt. Fish Canning Handbook. John Wiley & Sons, 2010. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=YEzIs81htcMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=different+types+of+fish;+sardines&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjJxZm7uuTwAhXSCOwKHRnGAioQ6AEwAnoECAIQAg#v=onepage&q=different%20types%20of%20fish%3B%20sardines&f=false

[1]Pichovich A & Yami B. Attracting Fish with Light. Food & Agriculture Org.https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=XiEktXV_z04C&pg=PA6&dq=different+types+of+fish;+sardines&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjGkO3CuuTwAhWO-KQKHbYrALM4ChDoATAJegQICxAC#v=onepage&q=different%20types%20of%20fish%3B%20sardines&f=false

[2]United States. National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, United States. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries. Commercial Fisheries Review, Volume 18. National Marine Fisheries Service, 2017. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=Yh_sXwacmlYC&pg=RA3-PA90&dq=different+types+of+fish;+sardines&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiJ5qXNuuTwAhXosaQKHSQKDsw4FBDoATAJegQICBAC#v=onepage&q=different%20types%20of%20fish%3B%20sardines&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/sardines-fish-lunch-healthy-plate-1468422/

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Herring-01.jpg

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