It has an elongated body, which can reach 27 cm long, subcylindrical and silvery, dyed blue or green on the back, a perfect camouflage against predators. It has round and dark spots on the sides.
Sardines can live up to the age of 14. They feed exclusively on plankton (microscopic plants and animals), including their own eggs, to a large extent. Their fat, which gives them the taste that is so much appreciated by the Portuguese, is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are important in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Sardines are an iconic element of Portuguese culture and gastronomy, but in the last 20 years there has been a decrease in their catches. Sustainable exploitation of this important resource, with adequate fishing effort, is one of the challenges we face if we are to continue to enjoy this resource for many long years.