An increase in the abundance of anchovies and sardines in the north-western North Sea since 1995


Doug Beare, Fisheries Research Services, Marine Laboratory, Victoria Road, Torry AB11 9DB, UK, tel: +44-1224-295314, fax +44-1224-295511, e-mail:


Trawl data from Scottish research vessels dating from January 1925 show that catches of the warm water pelagic species, anchovy (Engraulis encrasicholus) and sardine (Sardina pilchardus), increased suddenly after 1995. Most were observed in the first quarter of each year, with 1998 and 2003 having the largest numbers, although few data are available for the last quarter. The authors believe that these long-term changes are related to rising sea temperatures although the exact causal mechanism is not clear.