Acciuga europea - Engraulis encrasicolus
Achovy represents one of the first links in the food chain of all seas and oceans. At the base of this food chain is plankton. These are microscopic organisms distributed throughout the water column and feed small fish, including anchovies which in turn feed larger fish. These fish are then eaten by even larger fish, and so on until they reach the top of the chain with the shark.
They are therefore extremely important organisms representing a source of proteins for countless other marine species including mammals, cetaceans that live in our seas and of course also man.
They are therefore an important food. Anchovy proteins are rich in essential aminoacids and have a high biological value. Lipids are abundant but are interesting from a nutritional point of view because they are rich in unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids. For several years now, scientific research has demonstrated the beneficial effects of omega-3s which are essential for the proper functioning and maintenance of the nervous system. they protect against the onset of cardiovascular diseases and must be taken in abundance by the woman during gestation.
These fish are among the most widespread species in the Mediterranean Sea and in the video made these days we met them near the coast. In fact, in summer the anchovies often divide into small flocks and approach the coasts, temporarily abandoning the pelagic life on the high seas, to feed on the phytoplankton and zooplankton present in the shallow waters in the summer.
European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) is a forage fish somewhat related to the herring. It is a type of anchovy; anchovies are placed in the family Engraulidae. It lives off the coasts of Europe and Africa, including in the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azov. It is fished by humans throughout much of its range.
Habitat and ecology
The European anchovy is a coastal pelagic species; in summer, it usually lives in water less than 50 m deep (although, in the Mediterranean, it goes to depths of 200 m in winter), and it may go as deep as 400 m. As it is euryhaline, it can live in water with a salinity of 5–41 PSU (sea water salinity is usually 35 PSU). It can therefore live in brackish water in lagoons, estuaries, and lakes.
European anchovies eat plankton, mostly copepods and the eggs and larvae of fish, molluscs, and cirripedes. They are migratory, often travelling northwards in summer and south in winter. They form large schools, and may form bait balls when threatened (see image, below).
European anchovies are eaten by many species of fish, birds and marine mammals.