|Sprattus antipodum (sprat), S. muelleri (stout sprat)|
|kupae, marakuha, patete (Maori), New Zealand herring, sardine, sprotte (Germany), espadin (Spain), iwashi, supuratto (Japan).|
Sprats are a good choice seafood with an amber ranking.
Sprats, also commonly referred to as sardines or New Zealand herring, actually incorporate two different species of sprat. They are a small, fast growing schooling fish found in coastal waters, particularly in sheltered bays. They are often used (along with anchovy and pilchards) by recreational fishers as baitfish and are caught commercially in a minor and intermittent fishery. They are a schooling fish, most commonly found around the South Island, sometimes in mixed schools with anchovy and pilchards.
The lack of basic biological information on both species, the lack of a quantitative stock assessment, the impact of trawling on seafloor species and the lack of a management plan. There is also some concern about the impact of fishing this species on predatory species further up the food chain, such as marine mammals, seabirds and larger fish. However, these concerns have not yet been assessed and there is a need for more research.
Not certified under any scheme.
The market for sprats includes New Zealand and small exports of only $1908 in 2015 to Norfolk Islands and Samoa.
No regional or fishing method difference.
|Annual catch limit:||Limit set at 450 tonnes since 2002.|
|Recorded catch:||1 tonne in 2014-15. During the 1990s reported catches ranged from less than 1 tonne to 7 tonnes.|
|The Ministry of Primary Industries assessment plenary report includes:||“No estimates of current biomass are available. At the present level of minimal catches, stocks are at or close to their natural level. This is nominally a virgin biomass, but not necessarily a stable one.” (MPI 2016, p1373).|
|Distribution:||Open water and common in inshore waters around the South Island and in localized shoals around the North Island.|
|Maximum age (years):||Unknown|
|Age at sexual maturity:||Unknown|
|Ability to recover:||High|
|Fishing method(s):||Mainly purse seine but also set net and beach seine.|
|Habitat of particular significance:||for sprats hasn’t been defined in New Zealand.|
|Bycatch:||Associated with pilchard in the south, and purse seine bycatch species.|
|Ecological effects:||This is an important food species for larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. “Excessive localised harvesting may disrupt ecosystems.” (MPI 2016, p 1373)|
|Bycatch:||Purse seine fisheries have a residual risk of seabird bycatch but no reported marine mammal and seabird bycatch in the trevally target fishery.|
|Management component:||Two species managed as one and stock structure is unknown. The two species could have different distribution. Fishing could cause localised stock depletion.|
|Quota Management Species:||Yes since 2002.|
|Management plan:||There is no approved inshore plan.|
|Stock assessment:||No quantitative stock assessment.|
|Research:||There is no dedicated research into sprats species.|
|Observer coverage:||Unobserved. There is observer coverage of 9.9% in the purse seine fishery which is unlikely to be spatially or temporally representative of the fishing effort, and the purse seine effort is targeted at skipjack tuna and not sprats.|