Vancouver Island’s Source of Herring Roe for Kazunoko
Lions Gate Fisheries is a West Coast original in pioneering the preparation of Pacific herring for its high-quality roe. Herring roe (Clupea pallasii) is available as egg skeins packed in brine.
The herring roe is used in the main market of Japan, where it is considered a highly valued delicacy called kazunoko. Lions Gate Fisheries serves international clients as well as retailers and food services in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.
Early Spring Catches from the British Columbia Coast
The herring are caught in early spring off the British Columbia coast during the annual herring run. Herring spawn each year in British Columbia from mid-March to mid-April in protected waters where water plants such as kelp or eelgrass allow for egg deposition.
At this time, the roe of the females is in prime condition just before the fish are due to spawn. The roe is quickly extracted for maximum freshness and cured in saltwater brine at our facility to produce the kazunoko.
West Coast Vancouver Island Has Prime Herring Waters
Canadian commercial fisheries that participate in herring roe fishing are found in Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, the Central Coast, the Strait of Georgia and West Coast Vancouver Island. These fishing locations have large concentrations of herring. On average, 25,000 tonnes of harvested herring produces around 8,000 tonnes of roe.
In British Columbia, infant herring can be found near inlets, protected waters and shallow waters near the shore. Mature herring gather in deeper seawaters. Herring eat mostly small crustaceans, krill, molluscs, smaller fish and phytoplankton.
Lions Gate Fisheries Serves Herring & Roe Markets
Though most commonly used for roe, herring can be salted, eaten raw, fermented, pickled, or cured by other techniques, such as being smoked, to enhance their oily quality. Herring has been a go-to nutrition source since as early as 3000 BCE due to its high long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, DHA and vitamin D content.