FishBase is a repository of available information on the taxonomy, biology, ecology, occurrence and utilization of fish. It holds published information on almost all of the estimated 25,000 existing fish species. The information is arranged in 55 subject tables. It can be accessed through the Internet or installed on a PC from a CD-ROM.

At the heart of FishBase is the authoritative taxonomic fish classification established by W.N. Eschmeyer (California Acad. of Science). It ensures that all information is assigned to current scientific names, even if a publication uses an outdated name.


What it is ….

FishBase is a database for education and research on fish giving access to standardized data and explanatory text extracted from more than 19,000 sources such as books, journals and scientific publications. All information is referenced.


Many scientific institutions and fish specialists around the world have provided their own large  electronic databases or archives for display in FishBase.

Among the larger contribuitors are:





Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris,   Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Natural History Museum, London,  IUCN Red List of Endangered FishFAO Fish Catches,  FAO Aquaculture Production,  FAO database on fish introductions,  Eschmeyer's "Catalog of Fishes",


Large numbers of individual ichthyologists, aquarists and others have also donated their material to FishBase and are noted as individual contributors within the data. These include Dr.John Randall, and the Calypso Photolibrary and its Director, Gerald Jennings who have made contributions towards the pictorial aspect of FishBase, albeit tiny by comparison to the scale of the overall project.

Calypso recommends all who may have photographic or archive collections to contact FishBase and offer as much help as is possible.  

How to search ….

You will find FishBase on the Internet at

You can search for information on a given species by entering its common or its scientific name, or by picking it from an alphabetic listing of available names.

FishBase provides you with an overview on taxonomy, ecology, and distribution of the species and the possibility to search further on a broad range of topics.

For example, introduced species are often a major threat to native biodiversity. FishBase gives the user information on the origin of the introduction, the year, the reason for the introduction, as well as current status of the species in the country where it has been introduced. The introductions table could be used by conservationists, managers and aquarium hobbyists to know which species are present in their country so that unnecessary introductions can be prevented in the future.

Over 2,900 introductions are recorded and almost half were for aquaculture purposes. However, exotic fishes released by unaware aquarists are also a major concern, as they tend to establish themselves and threaten native species.


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 institutional and individual partners. The project was made possible through the support of the European Commission (EC) of the European Union.

FishBase on CD-ROM

FishBase is also available on CD-ROM. It can be installed on a PC under WINDOWS 95 (or higher) with at least 32 MB RAM and 60 MB free hard disk space (recommended: 64 MB RAM and 600 MB disk space). While the database itself is in English, context-sensitive help can be displayed either in English or in French. Consult our WEB page at


to find out about the latest version available. The price of FishBase on CD-ROM is US$ 95. This includes the CD-ROM (3), a manual and the cost of airmail. Payments can be made either through American Express Card or by check, payable to ICLARM and drawn from a US- or European-based bank.

Inquiries should be sent to:

Inquiries should be sent to:
 FishBase Project
ICLARM Office Philippines
c/o IRRI, College, Los Baños
Laguna 4031, Philippines
 Tel.:     (63-2)  845 0563; 845 0569 loc. 6864
            (63-45) 536 2701 to 05 loc. 6864
Fax:     (63-2)  845 0606; 891 1292




International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management

MC PO Box 2631, 0718 Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines



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