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COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on the Pacific Sardine (Sardinops sagax) in Canada


Habitat requirements

Little is known about specific habitat requirements for the Pacific sardine. Although they are found in the waters of every continent, they are a warm water species whose global distribution is restricted to 60° N and 50° S latitude. In California, sardine schools have been found in temperatures ranging from 7° C to 28° C, but spawning is thought to be restricted to 13° to 22° C (Ahlstrom 1960). The temperature range for eggs is even more restricted, with all eggs being found only in water between 12.5° and 16° C (Culley 1971). The diet of the sardine varies regionally, but as an omnivorous filter feeder it includes copepods, diatoms, a variety of other zooplankton, and occasionally fish larvae (Ahlstrom 1960). A combination of water temperatures and favourable feeding conditions may account for the annual northward migration of adult Pacific sardine stocks each summer (Ware 2001). Little is known about the requirements of juvenile sardines during their first summer when they are moved passively inshore and southward by the prevailing currents (Culley 1971).