Baitfish flood the Monterey Bay

Tyler Fox
Santa Cruz Waves

Cycles in nature prevail while anchovies make a come back. Every time I think I have figured out a pattern in nature I get served a does of reality.

The past five years small shrimp “krill” had become the predominant feed source for many fish in Monterey Bay. As a result of tremendous bio-masses of krill, and productive up welled plankton, small bait fish seem to make a come back. It had been many years since we have seen a population of anchovies in the Bay. This summer stocks of baitfish started to show early and seemed to vanish mid summer. At this point there are acres of anchovies out there! From shallow inshore spots and along the canyon edges you can find massive schools of anchovies, and humpback whales will be seen feeding on them.

The Humpback whales enjoy small baitfish and krill. Blue whales target krill as their primary diet. The blue whales are not as common in the Bay at this point due to baitfish as a primary feed source but the Humpbacks are feeding throughout the bay and put on quite a show. Along with anchovies, “tom cod” seem to have made a massive rebound. These small red fish are juvenile Boccaccio rockfish, and short belly rockfish. They are normally found near rocks and reefs the past two years I have encounter clouds of the small rockfish all through the bay.


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