Sardines

Sardines

Sardine

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Pacific sardines (U.S. & Canada)
Best
Low
High

MORE ABOUT PACIFIC SARDINES (U.S. & Canada)

The silvery Pacific sardine is a coastal fish that lives in large schools, grows to just over 1 foot (30 cm) in length and may live up to 25 years. It is used mainly for fishmeal.

Commercial Sources

Pacific sardines are found in the eastern South Pacific, from Peru to Chile, and around the Galapagos Islands.

The main sources of Pacific sardines are Chile and Peru.

Capture Methods

Pacific sardines come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with purse seines. Additional types of fishing gear include hooks-and-lines and trawls.

+-Japanese sardinellas
Unrated
Low
High

MORE ABOUT JAPANESE SARDINELLAS

The Japanese sardinella is a small schooling fish that grows to 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) in length. It is used in Chinese medicine.

Commercial Sources

Japanese sardinella are found in the western North Pacific, from southern Japan to Taiwan.

The main source of Japanese sardinella is South Korea.

Capture Methods

Japanese sardinella come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with purse seines. Additional types of fishing gear include trawls.

+-Orangespot sardines
Unrated
Low
High

MORE ABOUT ORANGESPOT SARDINES

The orangespot sardine resembles the round sardinella in appearance and lifestyle, also schooling in tropical waters. This silvery fish, which grows to a maximum of 10 inches (25 cm), is an important commercial species in Venezuela and is also used as a bait fish.

Commercial Sources

Orangespot sardines are found in the western Atlantic, from the Gulf of Mexico to northern Uruguay, including the Caribbean.

The main source of orangespot sardines is Brazil.

Capture Methods

Orangespot sardines come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with purse seines. Additional types of fishing gear include trawls.

+-Spanish sardines
Unrated
Low
High

MORE ABOUT SPANISH SARDINES

The round sardinella lives in large schools in subtropical waters. This small silvery fish with faint golden touches grows to 31 cm (1 foot).

Commercial Sources

Spanish sardines are found in Atlantic Ocean. In the eastern Atlantic, they occur from the Mediterranean and Black Seas to South Africa. In the western Atlantic, they range from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Argentina, including the Caribbean.

The main sources of Spanish sardines are Venezuela and Senegal, followed by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Ghana.

Capture Methods

Spanish sardines come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with purse seines. Additional types of fishing gear include cast nets, gillnets and trawls.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Japanese sardinellas Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Orangespot sardines Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Pacific sardines (U.S. & Canada) Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Spanish sardines Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Eco details: 

Sardines reach sexual maturity quickly and spawn several times a year. Since they quickly replenish their numbers, they are very resilient to fishing pressure. Most populations appear to be healthy.