Variability in size at maturity of the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) in the Mediterranean Sea

Size at first sexual maturity (L50) represents an important life-history trait that needs to be considered in the development of management measures as it provides fundamental information for avoiding the exploitation of younger individuals. L50 is known to display variability due to fishing pressure, geographical gradients, and environmental features. In this study, to investigate L50 variability among areas in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, maturity ogives of anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus) were estimated by considering samples collected during the anchovy spawning period in the framework of the MEDiterranean International Acoustic Survey (MEDIAS) program. Anchovy size and sexual maturity data from several geographical subareas (GSAs), i.e., northern Spain, Gulf of Lion, Tyrrhenian Sea, Strait of Sicily, Adriatic Sea and Black Sea, were gathered according to a standard methodological protocol. Maturity ogives were estimated by a logistic regression considering total length, condition factor, sex and GSA. The obtained results showed a significant effect of the condition factor, in that fish in better condition reached maturity earlier, and the results also indicated differences in L50 values among the areas and between the sexes, with males reaching maturity at lower lengths than females. Even though the obtained L50 estimates are relative to the spawning period only, the variability observed at the Mediterranean basin scale highlights the importance of explicitly considering specific habitat characteristics when providing management advice based on an ecosystem approach for fisheries.


Macroscopic maturity stage, condition factor, geographical variability, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea

How to cite
Ferreri Rosalia, Genovese Simona, Barra Marco, Biagiotti Ilaria, Bourdeix Jean-Herve, de Felice Andrea, Gasparevic Denis, Hattab Tarek, Iglesias Magdalena, Juretic Tea, Leonori Iole, Malavolti Sara, St Raykow Violin, Saraux Claire, Ticina Vjekoslav, Ventero Ana, Basilone Gualtiero (2021). Variability in size at maturity of the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) in the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean Marine Science. 22 (4). 858-870.,

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