We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Anchovy?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The anchovy is an ocean going fish species found in a large range of environments. It has been a popular source of food for humans since Roman times, when the fish was used in a wide variety of dishes including a fermented fish sauce called garum. The anchovy is a dark, oily fish which some consumers greatly enjoy on salads and pizzas, while other consumers conditioned to more pale fishes disdain the humble anchovy.

The anchovy is related to herring, and is a small silvery fish with a greenish tint. The anchovy rarely exceeds five inches (12 centimeters) in length. Anchovies travel in large schools of fish, making them easy to harvest for human and animal predators alike. The anchovy generally eats plankton, and in turn provides fodder for a wide range of marine species, some of which follow schools of anchovies to ensure a consistent source of nutrition. A school of anchovy can be an amazing sight when it travels close to the surface, with the sunlight flashing from thousands of fish.

Because the anchovy has been heavily fished for centuries, some stocks of the fish are at risk. With the advent of commercial trawler fishing, scientists began to realize that anchovies faced an environmental crisis, and recommended that controls be put in place on anchovy fishing before it was too late. As a result, many nations have begun to regulate anchovy fishing more closely, well aware of the result of overfishing of a kingpin species which nourishes numerous larger predatory fish.

Anchovy is most often consumed preserved, and the fish are frequently brined or packed in oil so that they can be used year round. Anchovies are sometimes found packed in salt, in which case they should be soaked and rinsed before consumption. The fish are preserved with bones intact, because they are small and soft enough to be eaten along with the fish and the size of anchovies is such that fillets are not realistically possible. Anchovies are also delicious fresh, and often appear grilled, wrapped around food items, or mingled into pasta sauces.

The anchovy is somewhat unfairly maligned by consumers, because the fish is actually rich in healthy omega-3 acid and the dark flesh doesn't carry as much mercury as many white fleshed species. Anchovy provides a distinctive and complex flavor which can be an outstanding addition to many Mediterranean dishes, where the fish has been popularly integrated for centuries. Brave consumers may also eat the preserved fish straight for the health benefits, although the flavor of anchovies is better when tempered with other foods.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon176435 — On May 15, 2011

What are the methods for efficient Anchovy fishing?

By anon42040 — On Aug 18, 2009

if anchovy is not fermented well and ground to used as anchovy sauce what will be the effect?

By somerset — On Feb 10, 2008

Anchovies do have scales, but they are so small that they are practically non existent. The anchovy skin is edible. Anchovies are used in some dressings such as Green Goddess dressing, and sauces such as Worcestershire sauce.

By anon8161 — On Feb 08, 2008

Do anchovies have scales?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.