Hey, there! The Cantabrian Anchovy is here!
On the 2nd of March the Cantabrian Anchovy season started officially. Although we can already see a few of them on fishmongers´stalls, these anchovies are still too small in size to be canned. It is expected that in April we will be able to spot important shoals ready to be captured -in controlled numbers, following the Basque policy- and processed in our premises to obtain the tastiest Anchovy Fillets.
The first shoals usually appear in April. The arrantzales (Basque fishermen) fish 3 or 4 hours away from our shores but the anchovies are approaching and soon the caught will be carried out nearer our shores.
We use a very selective and environmentally friendly fishing method. The anchovy is caught by means of special nets («redes de cerco»). The fishing boats surround the anchovy shoal circling it in a 360º angle. When the task is completed the net is fastened at the lower end and this prevents the anchovy from escaping. This net is hoisted and the fish is collected with a landing net.
It is important to know that it is a controlled and sustainable fishing method: Every year the biomass is estimated in April; then, the fry (small fishes) is counted in September/October. The following season fishing quota will be based on the results of that investigation.
Last September biologists from Azti (a Basque expert technology centre in marine and food research) detected an important presence of baby anchovies. This presence is four times greater in number than in the previous season. A wonderful piece of news for lovers of this appreciated delicacy.