Small pelagic fishes in the Mediterranean Sea constitute about half of the total landings, of which almost one-third is European anchovy. Anchovy abundance mainly depends on early life stage and juvenile survival and growth, which are susceptible to shifts in environmental processes. Due to the commercial importance of this species, it is necessary to elucidate the processes affecting recruitment strength for effective fishery management, using environmental indices to set more appropriate harvesting limits. Here, we constructed a simple index to capture synchronicity between enrichment and retention/concentration processes, which are known to affect anchovy abundance, during the first year of life. Three ecosystems in the Mediterranean were examined: Gulf of Lions, Adriatic Sea, and Strait of Sicily. The synchronicity index (SI) represented the synergic evolution over time of the chlorophyll-a concentration (CHL, enrichment process) and mixed layer depth (MLD, concentration/retention processes), and was related with the abundance of anchovy recruits obtained from published survey reports. Considering different ecosystems, when the SI was significantly higher, anchovy recruitment was promoted. This result indicated SI is consistent across ecosystems in explaining anchovy abundance fluctuations and thus could be used to enhance fisheries management and extended to assess the impact of projected environmental changes.