The inshore fishery for the pilchard in Cornish waters has existed for several hundred years, and such records as are available concerning fluctuation in catches and market conditions have been reviewed by Couch (1865), Cushing (1957) and Culley (1971). Although pilchard have been landed from Lyme Bay, from the eastern half of the Channel, and from the southern North Sea (Couch, 1865; Furnestin, 1945; Cushing, 1957; personal communications G. T. Boalch) the catches have usually been incidental to other fisheries and more sporadic than in Cornish waters. Traditionally there are three areas fished for the Cornish pilchard: on the north-west coast around St Ives; in Mounts Bay and towards the Scillies; and between the Lizard Pt and Bolt Tail in Devon (Couch, 1865; Culley, 1971). The latter region, constituting the inshore waters of south-east Cornwall and south Devon, effectively forms the eastern limits of the regular occurrence of commercial shoals. Knowledge of the breeding and life-history of the fish in this region has always been scarce and subject to much hearsay evidence (reviewed in Southward, 1963). Up to quite recently it was thought that the main spawning area lay well to the west of the entrance to the Channel, and it was not until the investigations reported by Corbin (1947,195°) a nd Cushing (1957)tnat it was conclusively shown that extensive spawning can occur within the English Channel from May to October. The relationship of the spawning in the western Channel to the other areas of spawning off the entrance to the Channel and in the northern Bay of Biscay is illustrated in a recent series of reports (Arbault & Boutin, 1968; Arbault & Lacroix-Boutin, 1969; Arbault & Lacroix, 1971; Wallace, P. D. & Pleasants, C. A., duplicated ICES meeting paper CM 1972/J: 8), and is further demonstrated by Demir & Southward (1974) in discussing the results of a study of small scale seasonal changes in spawning intensity in inshore waters.