Abundant in cold and temperate shelf areas, forms large schools near the surface. They overwinter in deeper waters but move closer to shore in spring when water temperatures range between 11° and 14°C. Mainly diurnal, it feeds on zooplankton and small fish. The species is traded fresh, frozen, smoked and canned. Eaten fried, broiled and baked. Two stocks in north-east Atlantic: North Sea (east) and British Isles (west). North Sea stock decreased dramatically in the 1960’s because of direct overfishing.