European Sprat Fish

The European sprat fish is a small, herring-like marine fish which is found in European waters.

It is also known by many other names such as Bristling, Brisling, Skipper, Garvie, Garvock, Russlet, Russian Sardine, Sprat and Whitebait.

This species generally occurs in specific seas including Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Irish Sea and Sea of the Hebrides.

The European sprat fish is of importance in North Sea, Baltic and off Norwegian coasts. More than two thirds of the total catch is from Norway and Denmark.

Overall population trends are not known, but a sharp decline in landings was seen in 1990 in the Black Sea . And currently the total population status is not known. Read some more information about this fish below.

European Sprat Fish Characteristics

The European sprat fish has silver grey scales, white-grey flesh and there are no dark spots on the flanks. Their head is relatively small, with lower jaw slightly projecting.

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Common body length of these fish is around 12 cm, with a maximum of 16 cm. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The European sprat fish are mainly feed on planktonic crustaceans.


The European sprat fish generally spawn at depths of 10-20 m. Some fish spawn almost throughout the year, but mainly in spring and summer.

They generally spawn near the coast or up to 100 km out to sea. The females generally lay between 6000 and 14000 pelagic eggs per spawning. Individual period of spawning takes about two months.


The European sprat fish is mainly used for food. It is utilized fresh, smoked, frozen and canned.

Special Notes

The European sprat fish has a high commercial importance. The juveniles are used as bait. The fish is also used in the production of fish meal and as milk food, and less used for human consumption. It has around 12 percent fat in it’s flesh and is a great source of many vitamins.

It can be canned, salted, fried, grilled, baked, marinated, and so on when used for food.

Average lifespan of the European sprat fish is around 6 years. However, review full breed profile of this fish in the table below.

NameEuropean Sprat
SpeciesS. sprattus
Binomial NameSprattus sprattus
Other NamesAlso known as Bristling, Brisling, Skipper, Garvie, Garvock, Russlet, Russian Sardine, Sprat and Whitebait
Breed PurposeFood
Special NotesEconomically important fish species, juveniles are used as bait, also used in the production of fish meal, around 12 percent fat in the flesh, great source of many vitamins, can be canned, fried, salted, baked, marinated and so on, around 6 years of average lifespan
Breeding MethodNatural
Climate ToleranceNative climates
Body ColorSilver

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