Usually inshore schooling, sometimes entering estuaries (especially the juveniles) and tolerating salinities as low as 4 ppt. Shows strong migrations between winter feeding and summer spawning grounds. Moves to the surface at night. Feeds on planktonic crustaceans (Ref. 9900). Spawns at depths of 10-20 m producing 6,000-14,000 pelagic eggs (Ref. 35388). Some spawn almost throughout the year, mainly in spring and summer, near the coast or up to 100 km out to sea, the young drifting inshore. Sold as 'brislings' to canneries. Sprat are used in the production of fish meal and as mink food, less for human consumption (Ref. 9900). Utilized fresh, smoked, canned and frozen; can be pan-fried and broiled (Ref. 9988).
- Whitehead, P.J.P. 1985 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 7. Clupeoid fishes of the world (suborder Clupeioidei). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the herrings, sardines, pilchards, sprats, shads, anchovies and wolf-herrings. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(7/1):1-303. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 188) http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=188&speccode=24