Similar, but very different than the sardine

On average, anchovies measure 4 inches (11 cm), but can grow up to 7 inches (18 cm). The estuaries in the northern Adriatic are the anchovy’s main zone. Fishing season for anchovies is from March to September. Together with sardines they represent the vast majority of the total catch in this fishing area.


English: anchovy

Italian: acciuga, alice

Croatian: inćun, brgljun, minčun, sardun

Slovene: sardon

French: anchois

Spanish: boqueron, bocarte, anchoa

Portuguese: biqueirão, anchoa

Greek: gavros

Turkish: hamsi

German: Sardelle

star of the northern Adriatic

The northern Adriatic from Trieste to Ravenna with the estuaries of the rivers Soča (Isonzo), Adige, Po and Reno is the anchovy’s main spawning and fishing zone. But, just as the sardines, anchovies are also not a rare catch in the wider Mediterranean – typically, these two species will end in the very same fishing nets.

Anchovies are fished the same way sardines are

The most common method is night fishing with surrounding nets, based on the daily vertical migration of shoals, that is triggered by the intensity of the daylight.

Blue fish, white flesh

Due to their simpler anatomy, filleting anchovies is significantly easier than filleting sardines. Its white flesh has a delicate flavour and fewer blood vessels, so it seems more like a white fish than a blue one.

Light plays an important role in the diet of anchovies

Since anchovies rely on their sight to choose their prey the zooplankton, good visibility is very important, which is probably one of the reasons for their staying in the shallow waters of the continental shelf.