November 2010, Dive Magazine UK / Douglas David Seifert
Why do fish gather in bait balls when it seems they are just setting themselves up as a living buffet for the predators? Douglas Seifert explains all...
This is a survival strategy. While reef and shore fish have some advantages in their nooks and crannies to provide a degree of protection. Throughout the seas of the world, large formations occur predictably at distinct times of the year. The occurrence of these schools is driven by seasonality and the growth rates and life-cycle stage of the particular species.
Commercial fisheries target the pelagic species that aggregate to create the largest schools: sardines, menhaden, anchovies, pilchards, herring and the like.