European sprat

European sprat, Sprattus sprattus

IUCN Red List assessment: Least Concern

Pencil on paper

Artist: Alex Read

Norway pout

The European sprat is a small fish found all through the north-east Atlantic ocean. It is usually between eight to twelve centimetres in size with silver scales and an elongated body. It is part of the herring family. Sprats are a schooling fish which migrate between winter feeding grounds and summer breeding grounds.  Sprats are caught for people to eat as well as to produce products such as fish meal. It is a resilient species and can be sustainably fished. However, in some places stocks are under pressure from industrial fisheries with high removals and uncertain management practices.  The sprat-eye maggot is a parasite that burrows into the fish’s eye, causing blindness or, in the worst infections, death.  The sprat is so nice they named it twice. In zoology, this is known as tautonymy, and implies that it is the type-species of its genus. 

About the artist:

Libby used coloured pencils on paper to draw her fish. She I spent a long time on this, drawing quite a small fish quite large. I think I was a bit too cautious but I do like the range of dark to light. It looks nervous.

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