Sardinella longiceps


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Sardinella longiceps
Species Authority: Valenciennes, 1847
Common Name/s:
English Indian Oil Sardine, Oil Sardine, Indian Oil-sardinella, Malabar Sardine, Indian Oil-sardine, Sardine
French Sardinelle Indienne
Spanish Sardinela Aceitera, Sardinela de la India
Alausa scombrina Valenciennes, 1847
Clupea longiceps (Valenciennes, 1847)
Sardinella neohowii Valenciennes, 1847

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-04
Assessor/s: Munroe, T.A. & Priede, I.G.
Reviewer/s: Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Chenery, A. & Ram, M.
Contributor/s: De Silva, R., Milligan, H., Lutz, M., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J. & Livingston, F.
Sardinella longiceps has been assessed as Least Concern.  FAO catch statistics indicate large-scale annual fluctuations in the landings of this species, but present, the global landings show no indication of a significant population decline.  Further research is needed on the factors determining population fluctuations and recruitment levels, and to determine if localised or regional extirpations are occurring.  This would enable improved prediction of population dynamics, allowing for more effective stock management.  Without regulation, fishing effort could exceed sustainable levels and become a major threat to the population.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Sardinella longiceps is distributed from the Gulf of Aden to southeast India, and possibly the Andaman Islands.  It is not found in the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf.  Specimens found in the Philippines or in Indonesia were probably misidentifications of Sardinella lemuru (Froese and Pauly 2007).
Djibouti; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Oman; Pakistan; Somalia; Sri Lanka; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size of Sardinella longiceps is highly erratic and fluctuates annually (Sarman and Udupa 2001).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The sardine, Sardinella longiceps, is a highly migratory, schooling species.   This pelagic species is found in the photic zone at depths of 20–200 m, along the continental shelf.  This species feeds on phytoplankton and small crustaceans.  It breeds once a year off the western coast of India, when temperatures and salinity are low during the southwest monsoon months.  Spawning peaks in August to September.  This species' population size is highly erratic and fluctuates annually (Sarman and Udupa 2001).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Sardinella longiceps is fished throughout its range and is one of the most important species in Indian fisheries.  It is mainly caught off Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and southern Maharashtra (Kumaran et al. 1992).  It represented about 8.35% of marine landings in India in 1997, which was a 100% increase from 1996 (Sarma and Udupa 2001).

FAO statistics show no apparent decline in the annual landings of this species.  There are large annual fluctuations in the catch of this species; 7,400 t was harvested in 1956, and 189,000 t in 1960 (Jhingran 1982).  In 2006, the landings for this species were reported at 385,159 t (FAO 2008).

Due to large annual fluctuations in the population numbers of this species, intense fishing pressure is likely to pose a significant threat to regional sub-populations in years where it coincides with low population size.

Global catch statistics for this species for the time period 1996–2006 are as follows: 1996: 223,355 t, 1997: 298,939 t, 1998: 256,773 t, 1999: 222,228 t, 2000: 417,691 t, 2001: 456,190 t, 2002: 357,207 t, 2003: 365,072 t, 2004: 371,586 t, 2005: 361,097 t, 2006: 385,159 t (FAO 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for Sardinella longiceps.  However, due to frequent fluctuations in the stock levels of Indian fish, all coastal states have implemented the Marine Fishing Regulation Act which has applied closed seasons and delineation of fishing zones for different categories of fishing methods, in attempt to ensure sustainable management (FAO-FIGIS 2007).

Further research is needed on the factors determining population fluctuations and recruitment levels, and to determine if localised or regional extirpations are occurring.
Citation: Munroe, T.A. & Priede, I.G. 2010. Sardinella longiceps. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 16 April 2014.
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