Sustainable Fishing Methods: Hand Operated Pole and Line, Purse Seine, Lampara,
Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Rating: No Rating
Biological Information: Pacific Sardines are a small fish that are characterized by bluish green backs with white flanks and dark spots along the middle portion of their bodies. They are an abundant species that can be found from the southern end of Alaska all the way to Baja, California. They form huge synchronized schools which acts as both a form of protection from seabirds, fish and marine mammals as well as an opportunity for year round spawning. Pacific Sardines grow to be about a foot long and reach sexual maturity at about one to two years old depending on location and water temperature. They can live up to 14 years and are able to spawn not only year round, but also multiple times per spawning cycle making them a sustainable seafood option. Pacific Sardines have an oily texture from being loaded with healthy oils and omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy oils contribute to their mild flavor and a delicate texture.
Sustainability: Pacific Sardines have made a huge recovery since the collapse of their population in the 1950’s due to heavy overfishing during WWII. Recently, the West Coast Sardine fishery has been under an emergency closure due to biomass levels below the 150,000t limit set by NMFS. Stocks are estimated to be around 52,000t. Incidental catch of 7,000t was permitted in 2018. The recent fall has been attributed to rising ocean temperatures rather than overfishing.