(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. The South African and Moroccan stocks of anchovy are all considered to be optimally exploited. In Spain, anchovy stocks are considered to be sustainably fished.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Purse seine

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.

South Africa

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.


Bycatch of non-target species is considered to be low however there is concern regarding the high levels of common dolphin bycatch. Discard of species and retained catch of juveniles is considered to be low. Purse seines used properly do not pose any impact on benthic habitats or surrounding ecosystem.

Morocco and Mauritania

The most likely Endangered, Threatened and Protected (ETP) species affected by purse-seine are turtles and marine mammals, in particular small cetaceans although the impact is deemed low. Bycatch is considered to be moderate and catches of juvenile target species is low. There is no known damage to the benthic habitat.

3.Where is it from?

South Africa

Anchovy are caught in South Africa mainly off the West coast, FAO 47, although some are caught off the South Coast < a href => FAO 51. Anchovy is managed using Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limit and vessel permits. There are catch limits for bycatch of sardines, red eye, combined lantern and light fish and cape horse mackerel. Management is considered to be largely effective and research is ongoing in regards to the interactions between the small pelagic fishery and the endangered African Penguin.


Anchovy are caught by Spain, FAO 27 in the area ICES VIII and imported into South Africa. The stock is managed under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union. Management is largely effective. Anchovy is managed using Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limit for the stocks. An ecosystem based approach of management is in the state of implementation.

Morocco and Mauritania

Anchovy are fished around the coastline of Morocco extending towards the Mediterranean Sea, FAO 34 and imported into South Africa. Management is considered to be partly effective. The fishery is regulated under jurisdiction of the Moroccan and Mauritanian government. A management system is partly implemented, but details are not available .The FAO provided advice on a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limitation using a precautionary approach; however, uncertainties remain regarding regional implementation of the recommendation and the high levels of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing occurring in the area .