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Sardines, Pacific

Sardines are found in coastal subtropical and temperate waters.  When the Pacific sardine population is large, it is abundant from the tip of Baja California to southeastern Alaska and throughout the Gulf of California, but when abundance is low, commercial quantities of sardine do not occur north of Santa Barbara, California.  The Pacific sardine has experienced a remarkable comeback after populations dropped drastically in the 1950’s. Today, this species and the fishery are thriving once again.  The maximum size of a sardine is up to 1.3 feet, but seldom longer than 9 inches.  The Pacific Sardine has sweet delicate meat, with a small flake and a grey to whitish color. If properly handled and carefully cooked, the bones lift easily from the meat.  Sardines are very high in selenium and vitamin B12 and high in calcium, niacin, and phosphorus, but they are also high in cholesterol.Pacific Sardines are caught by purse seine and gill net.  Scientists have identified long-term cycles of about 60 years of abundance and shortage.  The shortage comes with client changes resulting in fluctuations in the ocean water temperatures.  The Pacific Fishery Management Council sets an annual quota for the harvest of Pacific sardine based on scientific assessments of the species.
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