Widely known as a controversial pizza topping, the Northern Pacific anchovy plays a vital role in the aquatic food chain. Anchovies are a major food source for small to large ocean predators and marine birds. On the West Coast, the anchovy is found in waters from British Columbia to Baja California, and it is often available at the farmers market April through October. It is not on the federal watch list for threatened ocean species.

The average anchovy is around seven inches long and can be identified by a faint silver stripe on its side. Besides adding flavor to condiments like Caesar salad dressing and Worcestershire sauce, fresh anchovies are also delicious grilled and drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil, or stuffed with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs before being baked or fried. The anchovy is classified as an oily fish (like herring, trout, and salmon), providing a rich source of vitamins A and D and omega-3 fatty acids.