Topic: Sprat

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    Sprat are schooling fish that live in pelagic waters.

    Photo: Institute of Marine Research
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    Sprat (Sprattus sprattus).

    Photo: Erling Svensen / IMR

Sprat are schooling fish that live in pelagic waters, and are seldom found deeper than 150 m. They often make vertical migrations relative to fluctuating light of day, and go to the surface when the brightness decreases. In the summer they occur higher in the water column, often near the surface.

Sprat older than 4–5 years are rarely observed in Norwegian waters; age 0 and 1 individuals are more common. Since the commercial fishery targets young fish, it is heavily influenced by annual variations in year-class strength. With good growth the young of the year can reach a size of 9.5 to 10 cm by autumn, and be recruited to the fishery by the 4th quarter.

Individuals become sexually mature between 1–2 years of age, depending on the growth rate during the first year. Spawning occurs in the fjords; it is believed however that most production comes from recruitment outside the fjords. Little is known about recruitment and migration of the stock. There are good indications, however, that sprat occurring in the fjords during autumn and winter form the basis for the next year's fishery.

 

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Sprat in the North Sea, Skagerrak–Kattegat

Sprat (Sprattus sprattus) is a small Clupeid species found in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and along the coast from Portugal to the Helgeland coast in Norway and in the Baltic Sea. The species seems to tolerate large variations in temperature, salinity and oxygen conditions.

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Coastal sprat

Sprat is a pelagic schooling fish. It is rarely found deeper than 150 meters. The coastal sprat is found in the coastal areas along Norway, but rarely north of Helgeland.