Australian Anchovy

Engraulis Australis
Australian Anchovy - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Engraulis Australis
Other names Anchovy, Blue Bait, Frogmouth Pilchard, Smig, Southern Anchovy, Whitebait
Size Up to 15 cm (5.9 in)
Weight Up to .30 kg (.44 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Bays, inlets, estuaries and offshore waters
Depth Range 0 - 200 m (656 ft)
Australian Anchovy Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Australian Anchovy is a schooling fish, typically found in depths up to 200 m (656 ft).
  • Australian anchovies are generally used as a bait fish and harvested commercially.
  • These fish are omnivores and primarily feed on plankton.
  • Estimates of lifespan are up to 6 years with a 4 year average.
  • They are an important food source in the food chain.
  • The main predators of anchovy include seabirds, dolphins, sharks, larger predatory fish and marine mammals.
Species Interaction

Recreational & Commercial Fishing

Australian anchovy are a highly popular baitfish. Whilst generally targeted for bait, they are also popular in certain dishes for human consumption. There are over 140 species of anchovy with most found in tropical and subtropical waters.

The Australian anchovy has a large range across Australia from Shark Bay WA down to Tasmania and back up to central QLD.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Clupeiformes

Family: Engraulidae

Genus: Engraulis

Species: Engraulis australis

Conservation Status

There is little information on the conservation status of Australian Anchovy. However, as its a fast growing species there are limited concerns of over fishing.

Annual recreational harvests are estimated to be less than 1 tonne. Commercial harvest can be in between 40 & 80 tonne.

Fish Taste Quality

Australian anchovy are a edible fish but not a highly targeted species for consumption.

Taste Rating: 2/5

How to catch
Australian Anchovy

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Bait: Lures, Squid, Worms

Technique: Slowly sink bait towards bottom

Popularity: Popular