Sprat is a small species belonging to the herring family. Large schools of ten-centimeter long sprat swim in the upper water column in search of plankton. Sprat can grow to 18 centimeters and 6 years old. It is mostly caught by the industrial fisheries for producing fish-meal. Other fish and birds eat lots of sprat. Sprat is sometimes smoked for human consumption, sold in the Netherlands as 'kielersprot'. This fish is one of the few fish species in the North Sea that has a healthy population. Since 1990, a strong to very strong year class has been born just about every year.