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European sprat

Sprattus sprattus balticus (Schneider)

Overview

The European sprat, Sprattus sprattus, also known as bristling, brisling or skipper, is a small, herring-like, marine fish. Found in European waters, it has silver grey scales and white-grey flesh. Specific seas in which the species occurs include the Irish Sea, Baltic Sea and Sea of the Hebrides. The fish is around 12% fat in its flesh and is a source of many vitamins. When used for food it can be canned, salted, fried, grilled, baked, marinated, and so on.

Young sprats are commonly known as brisling. Canned sprats (usually smoked) are available in many north European countries, including the Baltic states, Scandinavia, Ireland, Germany, Poland and Russia. They are an important Latvian export. The majority of brisling sardines that are sold to the public are harvested off the coasts of Norway and Scotland.