Standard Names: Australian Sardine, Sardinops sagax, and possible other species, not differentiated at market
Sardines, Pilchards and other offshore schooling fish are caught by purse seine around the coasts of Australia from southern QLD to WA.
Though one of the major Australian fisheries (Australian Sardines account for the highest individual catch of a single species by volume in Australia), the majority of the catch is processed for canning, petfood or fishmeal, with the main buyer being the Southern Bluefin Tuna farms of SA.
Increasingly, WA Sardines have been marketed for human consumption, with the season peaking during winter.
|Government Stock Assessment|
|South Australia||Sustainable||Think Twice||-|
|Western Australia||Sustainable||Say No||-|
|New South Wales||Fully Fished||-||-|
|What do these terms mean?|
AMCS cite concern over dolphin interactions in SA and the impact of catches on seabirds and mammals, as sardines are an important food resource. Natural fluctuations in sardine abundances can make setting catch quotas difficult, although they are recognised as a robust species able to replenish populations quickly when conditions are favourable. SA has consistently reduced interactions with threatened, endangered or protected species (TEPS) through the introduction of a code of practice, improved fishing methods and increased observer coverage. There were 4 dolphin deaths in the SA sardine fishery in 2013/13. AMCS also cite considerable concerns about the impact of purse-seining in WA on populations of flesh-footed shearwaters, which can be accidentally entangled and drowned during fishing.
Sardines have a strong flavour and soft oily flesh. They require careful handling and short cooking times. They are particularly suited to barbequeing, grilling or panfrying. Crumbing before pan frying is popular and helps protect the soft flesh during cooking. Lemon juice is a foil to the strong oily flavour of sardines, making it a good accompaniment.