Abundant. Food for cetaceans.
I believe this is a scaled sardine (Harengula jaguana) but would like an expert's eye to confirm. This is a large example, perhaps 6" to 7" in length, caught by an angler off the Navarre Beach Pier. (The second image is not a flying fish but rather a flopping fish...a lucky shot just after the fish was landed.)
Observed prior to tidal restoration; there was some tidal influence
Blueback herring spawning at the Pipeline Rapids. Schools of herring were spawning in the backwaters and slower eddies around the rocks and infrastructure at the Pipeline (north shore of James).
The comical-looking anchovy. Caught by local fishermen using "arte xávega", a traditional fishing technique.
Caught/released off of Nauset Beach spit
A single individual caught between rocks during high tide. Very shiny and silver, without many markings. It was about an hour after sunset and the weather was cool (60 degrees).
herring spawning in the james river along pipeline rapids
American gizzard shad migrating on the james river
Photo taken during fieldwork for this survey: http://www.twdb.texas.gov/publications/reports/contracted_reports/doc/2001001015_BrazosInstreamFlows.pdf
Sporadically caught by sardine seize nets off the Portuguese coast (though they reach higher values than sardine because they are sold to Spain. There's not much tradition of eating anchovies in Portugal, we really are sardine people.) Sorry about the pictures, but I really had to sneak to get these photos. However, those weird mouths cannot be confused with anything else.
Alosa (herring) caught by Osprey. Caught in video.
AKA Slough Anchovy -- about 2" long; swarms of them around the boats.
Note: The Slough Anchovy range is mostly south of here (SoCal to Mexico); however, water temps have been warmer than usual and they may have headed north as many other species have.
Extraordinary congregation of hundreds of pelicans, cormorants, murres, and gulls foraging for hours on these fish near shore. Dozens being washed into the beach by the waves and quickly being snatched up by gulls.
Notes by Julie Thayer (Farallon Institute Scientist) in response to news of the congregation of anchovies:
This is a conundrum that has been surfacing again and again lately - while such an event may seem like an abundance, it could be only a concentration actually signaling decreasing anchovy abundance. Farallon Institute has been working with the Pew Charitable Trusts to find out more. It is currently unknown whether anchovy is increasing or decreasing; no stock assessments have been conducted since 1995. Furthermore, schooling behavior and spatial distribution of anchovy stocks at small versus large sizes is not well understood. It is thought that small stocks contract to the core range nearshore (off central California for central stock). Indeed, 2014 records of dense concentrations of anchovy in Monterey Bay and die-offs in Santa Cruz raise the question if the anchovy population is increasing or this concentration behavior is a result of unfavorable climate conditions, leaving a stressed population even more vulnerable to fishing and predators. While there was a slight uptick in the central California NMFS midwater trawl index in 2013, last year was again lower, extending a streak of extremely low survey catches (2008-2014). Egg surveys in southern California spawning grounds have also declined to next to nothing for recent years.