Australian Sardine Biology


SpeciesSardinops sagax
Common NameAustralian sardine
HabitatLower reaches of estuaries to continental shelf waters (Paxton et al. 1989)
DistributionSouthern Australia – Rockhampton to Shark Bay, northern Tasmania (Izzo et al. 2017)
DietPhytoplankton and planktonic crustaceans (Stewart et al. 2010)
Stock StructureFour separate biological stocks in Australian waters: SW coast of WA, Great Australian Bight-Spencer Gulf, Bass Strait-Port Phillip Bay (including Tas and southern NSW), eastern Australia (Izzo et al. 2017)
M (Natural Mortality)0.43 (southern Western Australia), 0.52 (west coast United States of America) (Fletcher, 1995; Zwolinski and Demer, 2013)
Maximum Age (Years)8 (Stewart et al. 2010)
Maximum Length (fork length; cm)23 (Neira et al. 1999)
Maximum Weight (g)140 (Neira et al. 1999)
Unsexed K (von Bertalanffy growth parameter)0.37 (Stewart et al. 2010)
Unsexed t0 (age (years) when length = 0)-0.28
Unsexed L∞ (asymptotic von Bertalanffy length (fork length; cm))23.61
Size at Maturity
(length (fork length; cm) at which 50% of population are sexually mature)
Age at Maturity
(age (years) at which 50% of population are sexually mature)
1-2 (Stewart et al. 2010; Ward and Grammer, 2016)
Spawning SeasonSummer (Bass Strait stock), late winter-early spring (eastern Australia stock)
Spawning LocationBass Strait (Bass Strait stock), southern Queensland-northern New South Wales (eastern Australia stock) (Ward et al. 2015; Lo et al. 2005)
Batch Fecundity
(F; number of eggs) to Weight (W; g)
F=-12042+452.69W (Ward et al. 2015; Lo et al. 2005)
Early Life HistoryJuveniles (4-6 cm fork length) have been recorded in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, between February and May, and within bays elsewhere in south eastern Australia in winter through to summer months (Hoedt and Dimmlich, 1995; Neira et al. 1999)
Gillnet Post Release SurvivalUnknown, likely low