(Engraulis encrasicolus)

Anchovies, Ansjovis, Ancovetta

1. What is it?

Anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) is a small, fast growing species that aggregates in large schools near the surface of the water. Population levels of anchovy are known to experience decadal fluctuations in abundance due to variations in environmental conditions as well as variability in phytoplankton and zooplankton abundance. South African stocks are currently optimally exploited.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Anchovy are caught using purse-seine nets which are set around a school of fish in the surface to mid-water. Once the school is surrounded, the bottom of the net is closed by a footrope. Bycatch of non – target species can be an issue and makes up 5% to 30% of the typical catch. Bycatch tends to consist of juvenile sardine, red eye and horse mackerel. There is little damage to bottom habitats.

3. Where is it from?

Adult anchovy are caught mainly off the West coast during the winter months. Juvenile anchovy are caught as they move from the West Coast nursery grounds to their spawning grounds in the South Coast. Anchovy is managed using Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limit, access rights and vessel permits. There is also a total allowable limit for bycatch (TAB) of sardines and separate precautionary Upper Catch limits (PUCLs) for red eye, combined lantern and light fish and cape horse mackerel. Management is considered largely effective and research is ongoing in regards to the interactions between the small pelagic fishery and the endangered African Penguin.