Welcome to FishBase

FishBase contains different things for different people

FishBase is an information system with key data on the biology of all fishes. Similar to an encyclopedia, FishBase contains different things for different people. For example, fisheries managers will dive into the largest existing compilation of population dynamics data; teachers and students will find numerous graphs illustrating basic concepts of fish biology; taxonomists will enjoy access to the November 2000 update of Eschmeyer’s (1998) Catalog of Fishes databases; conservationists will use the lists of threatened fishes for any given country (Hilton-Taylor 2000); policymakers may be interested in a chronological, annotated list of introductions to their country; research scientists, as well as funding agencies, will find it useful to gain a quick overview of what is known about a certain species; zoologists and physiologists will have the largest existing compilations of fish morphology, metabolism, gill area, brain size, eye pigment, or swimming speed at their fingertips; ecologists will likewise use data on diet composition, trophic levels, food consumption and predators as inputs for their models; geneticists will find the largest compilation of allele frequencies; the fishing industry will find proximate analyses, as well as processing recommendations for many marine species; anglers will enjoy a listing of all game fishes occurring in a particular country (IGFA 1994); and scholars interested in local knowledge will find more than 100,000 common names of fishes together with the language/culture in which they are used and comments on their etymology.

You can create personal, institutional and national fish databases

Divers, anglers, aquarists, researchers can create their personal/institutional databases of where and when they have seen, caught, or acquired what fish. Biodiversity managers can create national fish biodiversity databases to keep track of local regulations and uses. Anthropologists can create a database on local knowledge about fish.

This information is accessible through an easy-to-use interface on any personal computer with a CD-ROM drive and Microsoft Windows NT, 95 98, 2000, Me or above installed. It is also available on the Internet at

The following chapters present the concepts behind FishBase, the sources, and additional information on how to use FishBase.

FishBase has been developed at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and many other partners. FishBase has been funded mainly through sequential grants from the European Commission.


Eschmeyer, W.N., Editor. 1998. Catalog of fishes. Special Publication, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. 3 vols. 2905 p.

Hilton-Taylor, C., Compiler. 2000. 2000 IUCN Red list of threatened species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. 61 p.

IGFA. 1994. IGFA world records. International Game Fish Association, Pompano Beach, Florida. 40 p.

Rainer Froese

What’s New in FishBase 2000

The main goal for FishBase 2000 was to cover all 25,000 species known to science.

Additional/new features of FishBase 2000 are:

  • over 70,000 names (valid, synonyms, misspellings, misidentifications) assigned to over 25,000 species;

  • over 100,000 common names in over 200 languages;

  • support for the parametrization of ecosystem models;

  • new trophic (Lindeman) pyramids for major ecosystems;

  • a new ‘Key Facts’ page with ‘best estimates with error margin’ for important management parameters;

  • a November 2000 update of Eschmeyer’s (1998) Catalog of Fishes;

  • an October 2000 update of IUCN’s threatened fishes;

  • over 25,000 pictures;

  • over 20,000 references;

  • new graphs and reports; and

  • more data for more species.

Rainer Froese