European sprat is a species of small marine fish found in coastal waters of the North Atlantic and Mediterranean, as well as around Iceland. Found in European waters. It is the common name for two closely related fish species in the genus Sprattus, which are found in North Atlantic waters.
The European sprat is a species of small marine fish found in coastal waters of the North Atlantic and Mediterranean, as well as around Iceland. Sprats are very small fish with a maximum length of just over 12 cm (4.7 in). Their white flesh has little flavor and very high-fat content.
How to identify European sprat?
The body is gray-green on top, fading to silver and white underneath. A greenish stripe extends from the eye to the base of the tail and there is a spot at the base of the tail.
The European sprat has two, similar species, the white-belly sprat, and the black-belly sprat. For information about these two see “Identification” below. At one time, the species was considered a single population distributed around Iceland and along the north coast of Europe; the name was used for both.
Later studies confirmed that there were two very different species in this region: the white-belly sprat in the North Atlantic and the black-belly sprat in most of southern Europe.
Nutritions of European sprat
- Sprats are very rich in vitamins, A, D, E, and B1.
- They contain a large amount of protein and fatty acids.
- They are also rich in zinc, iron, and phosphorous.
- They are a good source of iodine, sodium, and potassium.
- They are low in cholesterol. Their fat content is only 8% of their total weight.
- Sprats are also very rich in Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids (more than salmon for example).
- Sprats contain less mercury than average fish because they eat plankton which absorbs the mercury from the water.
Behavioral and Physical Characteristics
Sprats are usually found in large schools. They are gregarious and feed on highly nutritious food, mostly small fishes and crustaceans.
In temperate waters they migrate seasonally to the coasts, returning to their spawning grounds at the end of their life cycle. They have a pale grey-green head with a white belly (except in black-belly sprats) and a slightly forked tail.
Sprat are caught and eaten whole, either cooked or raw. The white-belly type is mainly used in the Netherlands, while the black-belly sprat is used in Portugal, Spain, and Italy.
They are often eaten deep fried. A fish and chip shop in the United Kingdom will commonly sell them as “Squeakers” or “Squeakers in Tomato Sauce”, which are deep-fried whole. Sprats are fished with nets, lines, or traps and can be smoked, frozen, or canned for future use.
European sprat as farming
Sprats can be farmed in the same way as herrings and pilchards. Trawling is the most common method using bottom nets, especially those with large mesh sizes.
Sprat are not raised in floating cages like many of their relatives, because they tend to congregate just below the surface and would escape through the top panel of a net cage. Farmed fish are generally sold fresh but can also be frozen or smoked.
Sprat are caught with large offshore trawlers that have relatively small nets. This means that they don’t catch as many juvenile fish and can have a minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem.
Fish farming has a low impact on the surrounding environment, as it is not invasive and does not use up land or water resources. It also supports fishery management efforts by providing commercial outlets for fish species that would otherwise be discarded at sea.
However, review the full profile of the European sprat in the following table.
Best 10 Special Notes
|Other Name||Bristling, brisling, garvie, garvock, Russian sardine, russlet, skipper or whitebait.|
|Binomial name||Sprattus Sprattus.|
|Climate Tolerance||Temperature tolerant European sprat is normally grown in colder areas of the ocean. They are normally found from the northern Atlantic to Iceland.|
|Color||Greenish gray on top, fading to silver and white underneath. A greenish stripe extends from the eye to the base of the tail and there is a spot at the base of the tail.|
|Diet||They feed mainly on fish eggs and larvae, but also crustaceans and marine invertebrates.|
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