Bay anchovy is an important living resource in the Bay because it is one of the most abundant schooling fishes in the Bay. It is an important food source for top predators and eats zooplankton (tiny animals floating in the water column). Most bay anchovy do not migrate out of the Bay, but instead spend their whole life here.
How is it measured?
Bay anchovy data is collected by seine survey in both Maryland and Virginia. Data for bay anchovy has been collected since 1980 in two separate programs run by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. This seine survey counts the number of individuals of bay anchovy per seine. A geometric mean is then calculated for the number of individuals per year.
For bay anchovies the number of fish is most important to evaluate the health of the population. There is no target level of bay anchovies that has been determined by state or federal agencies to maintain the bay anchovy population at a healthy rate. The long term mean is used as the threshold to compare each year's value to for scoring.