Winning bid of €53,000 for first barrel of Dutch herring

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The first barrel of Dutch herring was sold at auction in Scheveningen, Zuid-Holland on Wednesday, fetching a 53,000 euro bid from Visgilde, an association of fishmongers. The annual auction raised money this year for the National Foundation for the Elderly.

One barrel of herring often holds between 45 and 55 fish, depending on its fat content. The auction kicks off the soused herring season in the Netherlands, a beloved snack eaten with onions, or sometimes served as a sandwich.

Last year's auction brought in 56,500 euros for a vacation park for families and children with disabilities. It is a decent drop from the 2013 total of 66,500 euros, and the 95,000 euro record.

This year's auction was delayed for only the third time in history. Originally scheduled for June 9, the fish was deemed not fatty enough to qualify as Hollandse Nieuwe herring.

A cloudy spring season was the cause of the delay. Plankton, a main food source for the fish, grows larger with sunlight, helping to boost the herring's fat content.