With respect to pickled herring, is the herring cooked before being put into the pickling solution?
If not, what safety measures are in place to ensure bacteria are within safe limits?
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No, it is not.
Traditionally it is first cured with salt to reduce the water content of the meat, then placed in a vinegar-based brine.
Recipes vary a bit, but for classic Bismarckhering 14% salt and 7% acetic acid are used. Additionally, today pickeled fish is stored in refrigerators (as opposed to the 19th century), providing additional safety.
This is sufficient to stop the growth of harmful microorganisms, including the feared clostridium botulinum.
Properly commercially sealed herring in vinegar brine can be stored for VERY long time in the fridge, and possibly at room temperature. Some brands "Noah's Gourmet" for example, I'm pretty sure they hot seal the herring because it is ALWAYS white and mushy upon opening. Almost mashed potato mouth feel. Or maybe not. The ones that aren't mushy, and have a pleasant texture, always (from what I've seen) have a preservative such as potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate added.