Sardina pilchardus, European pilchard : fisheries

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Sardina pilchardus (Walbaum, 1792)

European pilchard
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Sardina pilchardus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Sardina pilchardus (European pilchard)
Sardina pilchardus
Picture by De Sanctis, A.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes(genus, species) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Teleostei (teleosts) > Clupeiformes (Herrings) > Alosidae (Shads)
Etymology: Sardina: Latin and Greek, sarda = sardine; name related to the island of Sardinia (Ref. 45335).
More on author: Walbaum.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; pelagic-neritic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 10 - 100 m (Ref. 5286), usually 25 - 100 m (Ref. 54866). Subtropical; 68°N - 14°N, 32°W - 43°E (Ref. 54866)

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Northeast Atlantic: Iceland (rare) and North Sea, southward to Bay de Gorée, Senegal. Mediterranean (common in the western part and in Adriatic Sea, rare in the eastern part), Sea of Marmara and Black Sea.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 14.8  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 27.5 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 74552); common length : 20.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 188); max. reported age: 15 years (Ref. 35388)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13-21; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 12 - 23. Body sub-cylindrical, belly rather rounded (but more compressed in juveniles). Hind margin of gill opening smoothly rounded (without fleshy outgrowths) ; 3 to 5 distinct body striae radiating downward on lower part of operculum; lower gill rakers not becoming shorter at angle of first gill arch, the upper series not overlapping the lower. Last 2 anal fin rays enlarged.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Littoral species (Ref. 6808). Form schools, usually at depths of 25 to 55 or even 100 m by day, rising to 10 to 35 m at night. Feed mainly on planktonic crustaceans, also on larger organisms. Spawn in batches (Ref. 51846), in the open sea or near the coast, producing 50,000-60,000 eggs with a mean diameter of 1.5 mm (Ref. 35388). Marketed fresh, frozen or canned. Also utilized dried or salted and smoked; can be pan-fried, broiled and microwaved (Ref. 9988).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Breeds at 20 to 25 m, near the shore or as much as 100 km out to sea.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Whitehead, P.J.P., 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 7. Clupeoid fishes of the world (suborder Clupeoidei). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the herrings, sardines, pilchards, sprats, shads, anchovies and wolf-herrings. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(7/1):1-303. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 188)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 126983)

  Least Concern (LC) ; Date assessed: 20 May 2013


Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial
FAO - Fisheries: landings, species profile; Publication: search | FIRMS - Stock assessments | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

Common names
Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
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Gill area


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Internet sources

AFORO (otoliths) | Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes: genus, species | DiscoverLife | DORIS | ECOTOX | FAO - Fisheries: landings, species profile; Publication: search | Faunafri | Fishipedia | Fishtrace | GenBank: genome, nucleotide | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | National databases |
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