Scaled sardines, Harengula jaguana
Scaled sardines are common in near-shore waters along both coasts of Florida. The
species inhabits the warm temperate and tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean from New
Jersey south through Brazil, including Bermuda, the Gulf of Mexico, and the West Indies.
Scaled sardines are fast growing, short-lived fish that complete their life span in a little more than
one year. Maximum size is about 15 cm fork length (FL).
Adult scaled sardines feed on copepods, mysids, gammarids, ostracods, and small
molluscs. (Low 1972). Odum and Heald (1972) reported 49% amphipods, 16% mysids, 15%
unidentified, 8% chironomid larvae, 7% isopods, and 5% copepods. Key predators reported for
scaled sardines are sea birds (Anous stolidus and Sterna fuscata) (Hensley and Hensley 1995) and
hardhead catfish (Randall 1967), king and Spanish mackerels, little tunny, gag, bluefish, crevalle
jack, yellowfin and bluefin tuna, and dolphin (Johnson and Vaught 1986).
Total statewide landings of scaled sardine in 1999 were 308,147 pounds. The landings
were made mostly on the Gulf coast (61% of statewide total), and made by the commercial
fishery (98% of statewide total). The highest commercial landings were made in the South
Florida counties of Monroe and Broward (Fig. 1). No subregions considered for recreational
landing distributions contained 1999 landings of more than 1,000 fish (Fig. 2).
Total annual landings of scaled sardine on the Atlantic coast prior to 1999 were below
28,000 pounds; in contrast, 1999 landings of 119,588 pounds were the highest observed in the
time frame. On the Gulf coast, total annual landings dropped from a peak of about 940,000
pounds in 1991 to about 320,000 pounds in 1993, increased to over 750,000 pounds in 1997, but
have dropped declined in 1998-1999 (Fig. 3).
Indices of juvenile abundance have increased in 1998 and 1999 on the Atlantic coast and
have remained relatively stable since 1996 on the Gulf coast (Fig. 4,5). No formal stock
assessment for scaled sardine is available at this time.
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|Status and Trends 2007 Report
Florida’s Inshore and Nearshore Species
by Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute