global species database of fish species

FishBase is a global species database of fish. It is the largest and most accessed online database on adult fish on the web. As of August 2022, FishBase included descriptions of 35,300 species and subspecies, with 327,900 common names, 63,800 pictures, and references to 60,200 works in the scientific literature. The site has about 700,000 visits per month.

Logo of FishBase

It provides comprehensive species data, including information on taxonomy, geographical distribution, biometrics and morphology, behavior and habitats, ecology and population dynamics as well as reproductive, metabolic and genetic data. FishBase only covers adult fish, but doesn't detail the early and juvenile stages of fish.



In the 1970s


The origins of FishBase go back to the 1970s, when the fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly found himself struggling to test a hypothesis on how the growing ability of fish was affected by the size of their gills. Pauly believed that the only practical way fisheries managers could access the volume of data they needed was to assemble and consolidate all the data available in the published literature into some central and easily accessed repository. Such a database like FishBase would be very useful if the data has also been standardized and validated.



Pauly recruited Rainer Froese, and the beginnings of a software database along these lines was encoded in 1988. This was the prototype for FishBase. It was then extended to cover all finfish, and was launched on the Web in August 1996.

Why many people visit FishBase


A ton of people visit FishBase to learn about adult fish. The site has about 700,000 visits per month.



  1. Froese R and Pauly D (eds) (2000) FishBase 2000: concepts, design and data sources. ICLARM. Philippines.
  2. Marine Fellow: Rainer Froese Archived 21 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Pew Environment Group.