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Title: Anchovy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Diversity of fish, Boquerones en vinagre, Bagnun, Shoaling and schooling, Wild fisheries
Collection: Engraulidae, Oily Fish, Umami Enhancers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulidae
See text
Global commercial capture of anchovy in million tonnes 1950–2010[1]

An anchovy is a small, common salt-water forage fish of the family Engraulidae. The 144 species are placed in 17 genera; they are found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, and in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Anchovies are usually classified as oily fish.[2]


  • Genera 1
  • Characteristics 2
  • Distribution 3
  • Ecology 4
  • Commercial species 5
  • Fisheries 6
    • Black Sea 6.1
  • As food 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Genera in the family Engraulidae
Genera Species Comment Genera Species Comment
Amazonsprattus 1 Anchoa 35
Anchovia 3 Anchoviella 4
Cetengraulis 2 Coilia 13
Encrasicholina 5 Engraulis 9 Type genus for anchovy: This genus contains all the commercially significant anchovy.
Jurengraulis 1 Lycengraulis 4
Lycothrissa 1 Papuengraulis 1
Pseudosetipinna 1 Pterengraulis 1
Setipinna 8 Stolephorus 20
Thryssa 24


European anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus

Anchovies are small, green fish with blue reflections due to a silver-colored longitudinal stripe that runs from the base of the caudal fin. They range from 2 to 40 cm (0.79 to 15.75 in) in adult length,[3] and their body shapes are variable with more slender fish in northern populations.



  • Fisheries Ebb and Flow in 50-Year Cycle National Geographic News (2003).

External links

  • Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Engraulidae" in FishBase. January 2006 version.
  • Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission [1] Northern Anchovy
  • Francisco P, Chavez FP, Ryan J, Lluch-Cota SE and Ñiquen C M (2003) From Anchovies to Sardines and Back: Multidecadal Change in the Pacific Ocean Science 229(5604)217–221.
  • Miller DJ (1956) "Anchovy" CalCOFI Reports, 5: 20–26.
  • Nizinski MS and Munroe TA (1988) FAO species catalogue, volume 2: Clupeoid Fishes of the World, , AnchoviesEngraulidae Pages 764–780, FAO Fisheries Synopsis 125, Rome. ISBN 92-5-102340-9.


  1. ^ a b c d Based on data sourced from the relevant FAO Species Fact Sheets
  2. ^ "What's an oily fish?".  
  3. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2008). "Engraulidae" in FishBase. December 2008 version.
  4. ^ Nelson, Gareth (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N., ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 94–95.  
  5. ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2011. . eds. P.Saundry & C.J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DCAlboran Sea
  6. ^ Anderson, Daniel W.; Gress, Franklin; Mais, Kenneth F.; Kelly, Paul R. (1980). North, Nance, ed. "Brown pelicans as anchovy stock indicators and their relationships to commercial fishing" (PDF). CalCOFIs Reports ( 
  7. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Engraulis encrasicolus in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  8. ^ (Linnaeus, 1758)Engraulis encrasicolus FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 2012.
  9. ^ "Engraulis encrasicolus".  
  10. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Engraulis anchoita in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  11. ^ (Hubbs & Marini, 1935)Engraulis anchoita FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 2012.
  12. ^ "Engraulis anchoita".  
  13. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Engraulis mordax in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  14. ^ (Girard, 1856)Engraulis mordax FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 2012.
  15. ^ "Engraulis mordax".  
  16. ^ Iwamoto T, Eschmeyer W and Alvarado J (2010). "Engraulis mordax".  
  17. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Engraulis japonicus in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  18. ^ (Temminck & Schlegel, 1846)Engraulis japonicus FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 2012.
  19. ^ ITIS
  20. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Engraulis ringens in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  21. ^ (Jenyns, 1842)Engraulis ringens FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 2012.
  22. ^ "Engraulis ringens".  
  23. ^ Iwamoto T, Eschmeyer W and Alvarado J (2010). "Engraulis ringens".  
  24. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Engraulis capensis in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  25. ^ (Gilchrist, 1913)Engraulis capensis FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 2012.
  26. ^ "Engraulis capensis".  
  27. ^ "Turkish Black Sea Acoustic Surveys: Winter distribution of anchovy along the Turkish coast". Middle East Technical University Institute of Marine Sciences. 
  28. ^ Tacitus: Germania
  29. ^ White Anchovy Fillets
  30. ^ Food: First catch your anchovies


See also

The strong taste people associate with anchovies is due to the curing process. Fresh anchovies, known in Italy as alici, have a much milder flavor.[29] In Sweden and Finland, the name anchovies is related strongly to a traditional seasoning, hence the product "anchovies" is normally made of sprats[30] and herring can be sold as "anchovy-spiced". Fish from the Engraulidae family are instead known as sardell in Sweden and sardelli in Finland, leading to confusion when translating recipes.

A traditional method of processing and preserving anchovies is to gut and salt them in brine, allow them to mature, and then pack them in oil or salt. This results in a characteristic strong flavor and the flesh turns deep grey. Pickled in vinegar, as with Spanish boquerones, anchovies are milder and the flesh retains a white color. In Roman times, anchovies were the base for the fermented fish sauce garum. Garum had a sufficiently long shelf life for long-distance commerce, and was produced in industrial quantities. Anchovies were also eaten raw as an aphrodisiac.[28] Today, they are used in small quantities to flavor many dishes. Because of the strong flavor, they are also an ingredient in several sauces and condiments, including Worcestershire sauce, Caesar salad dressing, remoulade, Gentleman's Relish, many fish sauces, and in some versions of Café de Paris butter. For domestic use, anchovy fillets are packed in oil or salt in small tins or jars, sometimes rolled around capers. Anchovy paste is also available. Fishermen also use anchovies as bait for larger fish, such as tuna and sea bass.

Still Life with Anchovies, 1972, Antonio Sicurezza

As food

The Turkish commercial fishing fleet catches around 300 thousand tons per year on average, mainly in winter. The largest catch is in November and December.[27]

Black Sea

Capture of all anchovy reported by the FAO (green indicates Peruvian anchoveta) [1]
Global capture of anchovy in tonnes reported by the FAO
↑  Peruvian anchoveta 1950–2010 [1]
↑  Other anchovy 1950–2010 [1]


* Type species

Commercially significant species
Common name Scientific name Maximum
European anchovy* Engraulis encrasicolus (Linnaeus, 1758) 20.0 cm (7.9 in) 13.5 cm (5.3 in) kg 3 years 3.11 [7] [8] [9] Not assessed
Argentine anchoita Engraulis anchoita (Hubbs & Marini, 1935) 17.0 cm (6.7 in) cm 0.025 kg (0.88 oz) years 2.51 [10] [11] [12] Not assessed
Californian anchovy Engraulis mordax (Girard, 1856) 24.8 cm (9.8 in) 15.0 cm (5.9 in) 0.068 kg (2.4 oz) years 2.96 [13] [14] [15] LC IUCN 3 1.svg Least concern[16]
Japanese anchovy Engraulis japonicus (Temminck & Schlegel, 1846) 18.0 cm (7.1 in) 14.0 cm (5.5 in) 0.045 kg (1.6 oz) 4 years 2.60 [17] [18] [19] Not assessed
Peruvian anchoveta Engraulis ringens (Jenyns, 1842) 20.0 cm (7.9 in) 14.0 cm (5.5 in) kg 3 years 2.70 [20] [21] [22] LC IUCN 3 1.svg Least concern[23]
Southern African anchovy Engraulis capensis (Gilchrist, 1913) 17.0 cm (6.7 in) cm kg years 2.80 [24] [25] [26] Not assessed
This article is
one of a series on
Commercial fish
Large pelagic
billfish, bonito
mackerel, salmon
shark, tuna

anchovy, herring
menhaden, sardine
shad, sprat

cod, eel, flatfish
pollock, ray
carp, tilapia

Commercial species

The anchovy is a significant food source for almost every predatory fish in its environment, including the California halibut, rock fish, yellowtail, shark, chinook, and coho salmon. It is also extremely important to marine mammals and birds; for example, breeding success of California brown pelicans[6] and elegant terns is strongly connected to anchovy abundance.


Anchovies are found in scattered areas throughout the world's oceans, but are concentrated in temperate waters, and are rare or absent in very cold or very warm seas. They are generally very accepting of a wide range of temperatures and salinity. Large schools can be found in shallow, brackish areas with muddy bottoms, as in estuaries and bays. They are abundant in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Alboran Sea,[5] Aegean Sea and the Black Sea. The species is regularly caught along the coasts of Crete, Greece, Sicily, Italy, France, Turkey, and Spain. They are also found on the coast of northern Africa. The range of the species also extends along the Atlantic coast of Europe to the south of Norway. Spawning occurs between October and March, but not in water colder than 12 °C (54 °F). The anchovy appears to spawn at least 100 km (62 mi) from the shore, near the surface of the water.


. recently hatched fish and plankton, two fish which anchovies closely resemble in other respects. The anchovy eats silversides and herrings The mouth is larger than that of [4]

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