The European ancovy is a migratory, ocean-dwelling fish that can be found in the Mediterraneanand as far north as Norway and as far south as Africa. These fish form in schools and are a pelagic species.
The body of the European anchovy is round and nearly cylindrical with a pointed nose and forked tail. This species has a silver stripe along the flank that disappears with age. Given it small size, up to 21 cm (8 inches) it is typically canned.
Anchovies are mainly a coastal marine species forming large schools and entering lagoons, estuaries and lakes during spawning. They migrate north and live in surface waters in the summer, retreating and descending in winter. They typically feed on plankton and spawn from April to November, peaking in the warmest months.
Fish harvesters encircle a large wall of netting around schools of fish and pull the bottom of the netting closed, like a drawstring purse, to capture the fish.