Sardines form large schools. They are filter feeders, meaning they don't pick out individual prey items, but rather swim through the water column with open mouths collecting small plankton. They are important prey items for whales and seabirds.
Sardines from Canadian and US Pacific that are purse seine caught.
Sardines from Atlantic US caught by mid-water trawl or purse seine.
Cooking & nutrition:
This small, plentiful pelagic fish is packed full of flavor due to its high fat content. Available fresh in late summer and year-round in canned, smoked, or frozen options, sardines also makes for an affordable yet tasty menu choice. Currently the majority of Canadian sardines are exported for bait in high seas longline fisheries and some direct consumption in Asian countries.
Sardines are rich in calcium, protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy minerals.
The Pacific sardine fishery, now one of the largest fisheries on Canada's Pacific coast, is part of a migratory stock that extends from Mexico to northern B.C. An allocation is given to Canada as determined by an agreement with the U.S. In Canada, large nets called purse seines are used to encircle and capture sardine. A comprehensive observer program has confirmed that there is very little bycatch associated with this fishery. Read more about small fish like sardines.