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Northern Anchovy
Anchovy-anchois
Scientific Name Engraulis mordax
Conservation Status Data Defficient
Family Chordata
Habitat North Pacific Rim
Food Plankton and Fry


The anchovies are a family (Engraulidae) of small, common salt-water forage fish. There are about 140 species in 16 genera, found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Anchovies are usually classified as an oily fish.

The mouth is larger than that of herrings and silversides, two fish anchovies closely resemble in other respects. The anchovy eats plankton and fry (recently-hatched fish).

The anchovy is a significant food source for almost every predatory fish in its environment, including the California halibut, rock fish, yellowtail, sharks, chinook, and coho salmon. It is also extremely important to marine mammals and birds; for example, breeding success of California brown pelicans and elegant terns is strongly connected to anchovy abundance. As anchovy populations drop, the population of the predatory species is also expected to decline.

Overfishing of anchovies has been a problem. Since the 1980s, large mechanized anchovy fishing vessels based in France have caught the fish in fine-mesh dragnets.

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