Sardines (“pilchards”) are a nutrient-rich, small, oily fish widely consumed by humans and as forage fish by larger fish species, seabirds and marine mammals. Sardines are a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are often served in cans, but can also be eaten grilled, pickled, or smoked when fresh.Sardines are related to herrings, both in the family Clupeidae.The term sardine was first used in English during the early 15th century, and may come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.The terms sardine and pilchard are not precise, and what is meant depends on the region. The United Kingdom’s Sea Fish Industry Authority, for example, classifies sardines as young pilchards.One criterion suggests fish shorter in length than 6 inches (15 cm) are sardines, and larger ones pilchards. The FAO/WHO Codex standard for canned sardines cites 21 species that may be classed as sardines; FishBase, a comprehensive database of information about fish, calls at least six species just ‘pilchard’, over a dozen just ‘sardine’, and many more with both those two basic names qualified by various adjectives.