List of commercially important fish species

World capture fisheries and aquaculture production by species group, from FAO's Statistical Yearbook 2020[1]

This is a list of aquatic animals that are harvested commercially in the greatest amounts, listed in order of tonnage per year (2012) by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Species listed here have an annual tonnage in excess of 160,000 tonnes.

This table includes mainly fish, but also listed are crabs, shrimp, squid, bivalves, and a soft shell turtle.

Note that Oreochromis niloticus and Penaeus monodon appear twice, because substantial amounts are harvested from the wild as well as being extensively raised through aquaculture.


The 70 wild species shown in this table total 41,925,250 tonnes. Other wild species total 49,410,980 for a world total of 91,336,230 tonnes of wild, captured animals.[2]

The 31 cultivated species shown in this table total 45,252,999 tonnes. Other cultivated species total 21,380,254 tonnes for a world total of 66,633,253 tonnes of animals cultivated through aquaculture.[3]

Harvested aquatic animals by weight

Common name(s) Binomial name Image Wild/
in tonnes
Grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella Ctenopharyngodon idella.jpg Cultivated 6,068,014 China is the major producer of the grass carp. One reason this species is preferred in aquaculture is that it grows quickly and requires fairly little dietary protein. Low-cost feed such as grain processing and vegetable oil extraction by-products, terrestrial grass, and aquatic weeds, allows the grass carp to be produced cheaply.[4]

This fish is mainly sold fresh, either in pieces or whole.

Peruvian anchoveta Engraulis ringens Engraulis ringens.jpg Wild 4,692,855
Silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Hungary.jpg Cultivated 4,189,578 A variety of Asian carp, widely cultivated with other aquaculture carp, but under pressure in its home range (China and eastern Siberia). Also called "flying fish", it is an invasive species in many countries.[5]
Common carp Cyprinus carpio Cyprinus carpio.jpeg Cultivated 3,791,913
Japanese littleneck,
Manila clam,
Filipino Venus,
Japanese cockle,
Japanese carpet shell
Venerupis philippinarum Ruditapes philippinarum.jpg Cultivated 3,785,311
Alaska pollock Theragra chalcogramma Theragra chalcogramma.png Wild 3,271,426 Fisheries capture of Theragra chalcogramma.pngThis species is often the main ingredient in the so-called crab sticks.
Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus Oreochromis-niloticus-Nairobi.JPG Cultivated 3,197,330
Whiteleg shrimp Penaeus vannamei Litopenaeus vannamei specimen.jpg Cultivated 3,178,721
Bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis Bighead carp b.gif Cultivated 2,898,816
Skipjack tuna Katsuwonus pelamis Katsuwonus pelamis.png Wild 2,795,339
Catla Catla catla Catla catla.JPG Cultivated 2,761,022
Crucian carp Carassius carassius CarassiusCarassius8.JPG Cultivated 2,451,845
Atlantic salmon Salmo salar Salmo salar.jpg Cultivated 2,066,561 The wild Atlantic salmon fishery is commercially dead; after extensive habitat damage and overfishing, wild fish make up only 0.5% of the Atlantic salmon available in world fish markets. The rest are farmed, predominantly from aquaculture in Norway, Chile, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Faroe Islands, Russia and Tasmania in Australia.
Atlantic herring Clupea harengus Clupea harengus Gervais.jpg Wild 1,849,969 Fisheries capture of Clupea harengus.png
Chub mackerel Scomber japonicus Scomber japonicus.png Wild 1,581,314 Fisheries capture of Scomber japonicus.png
Rohu Labeo rohita Labeo rohita.JPG Cultivated 1,555,546
Yellowfin tuna Thunnus albacares Thunnus albacares.png Wild 1,352,204
Japanese anchovy Engraulis japonicus Engraulis japonicus 01.JPG Wild 1,296,383
Largehead hairtail Trichiurus lepturus Trichiurus lepturus by OpenCage.jpg Wild 1,235,373
Atlantic cod Gadus morhua Gadus morhua Cod-2b-Atlanterhavsparken-Norway.JPG Wild 1,114,382
European pilchard Sardina pilchardus Sardina pilchardus 2011.jpg Wild 1,019,392
Capelin Mallotus villosus Mallotus villosus.gif Wild 1,006,533
Jumbo flying squid Dosidicus gigas Dosidicus gigas.jpg Wild 950,630
Milkfish Chanos chanos Milkfish.jpg Cultivated 943,259
Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus Scomber scombrus.png Wild 910,697 Fisheries capture of Scomber scombrus.png
Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss Female Rainbow Trout in hand.JPG Cultivated 855,982
Giant tiger prawn
Asian tiger shrimp
Penaeus monodon CSIRO ScienceImage 2992 The Giant Tiger Prawn.jpg Cultivated 855,055
Araucanian herring Clupea bentincki Wild 848,466 Fisheries capture of Clupea bentincki.png
Chinese razor clam
Agemaki clam
Sinonovacula constricta FMIB 42830 Agemaki Shells.jpeg Cultivated 720,466
Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis EriocheirSinensis1.jpg Cultivated 714,392
Wuchang bream Megalobrama amblycephala Cultivated 705,821
Pacific oyster
Japanese oyster
Miyagi oyster
Crassostrea gigas Crassostrea gigas p1040847.jpg Cultivated 608,688
Louisiana crawfish
Red swamp crawfish
Procambarus clarkii Procambarus clarkii.jpg Cultivated 598,289
Akiami paste shrimp Acetes japonicus Wild 588,761 One of 14 species in the genus Acetes, this small, krill-like prawn is used to produce shrimp paste in South East Asia.
Gulf menhaden Brevoortia patronus B.patronus.JPG Wild 578,693 Fisheries capture of Brevoortia patronus.png
Indian oil sardine Sardinella longiceps Indian Oil Sardine.JPG Wild 560,145
Black carp Mylopharyngodon piceus Mylopharyngodon piceus.jpg Cultivated 495,074
European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus Ansjovis.jpg Wild 489,297
Northern snakehead Channa argus Northern snakehead.jpg Cultivated 480,854
Pacific cod Gadus macrocephalus Gadus macrocephalus.png Wild 474,047
Pacific saury Cololabis saira Sanma01.jpg Wild 460,961
Pacific herring Clupea pallasii Clupea pallasii pallasii.jpg Wild 451,457 Fisheries capture of Clupea pallasii.png
Bigeye tuna Thunnus obesus Thunnus obesus.png Wild 450,546
Chilean jack mackerel Trachurus murphyi Chilean purse seine.jpg Wild 447,060 Fisheries capture of Trachurus murphyi 1950-2012.png
Yellow croaker Larimichthys polyactis 小黄鱼.jpg Wild 437,613
Haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus Haddock, Boston Aquarium.JPG Wild 430,917
Gazami crab Portunus trituberculatus Portunus trituberculatus.jpg Wild 429,959
Amur catfish
Japanese common catfish
Silurus asotus Silurus.jpg Cultivated 413,350
European sprat Sprattus sprattus Sprattus sprattus.jpg Wild 408,509 Fisheries capture of Sprattus sprattus.png
Pink salmon Oncorhynchus gorbuscha Humpback Salmon Adult Male.jpg Wild 406,131
Mrigal carp Cirrhinus mrigala Cultivated 396,476
Channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus Ictalurus punctatus.jpg Cultivated 394,179 See also: Aquaculture of catfish
Blood cockle Anadara granosa Anadara granosa.jpg Cultivated 391,574
Blue whiting Micromesistius poutassou Micromesistius poutassou Gervais.jpg Wild 378,794
Hilsa shad Tenualosa ilisha Ilish.JPG Wild 376,734
Daggertooth pike conger Muraenesox cinereus Muraenesox cinereus.JPG Wild 372,704
California pilchard Sardinops caeruleus Catch of Pacific sardines.jpg Wild 364,386
Cape horse mackerel Trachurus capensis Trachurus capensis.jpg Wild 356,795
Pacific anchoveta Cetengraulis mysticetus Wild 352,945
Japanese flying squid Todarodes pacificus Todarodes pacificus ruler.jpg Wild 351,229
Argentine shortfin squid Illex argentinus Wild 340,622
Pollock Pollachius virens Pollachius virens 01.jpg Wild 336,838 Fisheries capture of Pollachius virens.png
Chinese softshell turtle Pelodiscus sinensis Pelodiscus.jpg Cultivated 335,535 This species is a significant part of China's aquaculture. According to the data obtained from 684 Chinese turtle farms, they sold over 91 million turtles of this species every year; considering that these farms represented less than half of the 1,499 registered turtle farms in China, the nationwide total could be over twice as high.[6]
Kawakawa Euthynnus affinis Euaff u0.gif Wild 328,927
Indian mackerel Rastrelliger kanagurta Rakan u0.gif Wild 325,612
Asian swamp eel Monopterus albus Monopterus albus 2.jpg Cultivated 321,006
Yesso scallop Patinopecten yessoensis Mizuhopecten yessoensis.jpg Wild 318,081
Argentine hake Merluccius hubbsi Merluccius hubbsi.jpg Wild 318,067
Northern prawn Pandalus borealis Pandalus borealis.png Wild 315,511
Short mackerel Rastrelliger brachysoma Pla thu831.jpg Wild 312,930 Fisheries capture of Rastrelliger brachysoma.png
Southern rough shrimp Trachysalambria curvirostris Trachysalambria curvirostris.jpg Wild 308,257
Southern African anchovy Engraulis capensis Wild 307,606
Pond loach Misgurnus anguillicaudatus Misgurnus anguillicaudatus.jpg Cultivated 294,456
Iridescent shark Pangasius hypophthalmus Iridescent shark.jpg Cultivated 285,089
Mandarin fish
Chinese perch
Siniperca chuatsi Ауха (китайский окунь) чучело.JPG Cultivated 281,502
Nile perch Lates niloticus Lates niloticus 1923.jpg Wild 278,675
Round sardinella Sardinella aurita Sardinella aurita.jpg Wild 273,018
Japanese pilchard Sardinops melanostictus Catch of Pacific sardines.jpg Wild 269,972
American sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus Placopecten magellanicus.jpg Wild 267,745
Bombay-duck Harpadon nehereus Harpadon nehereus (by Hamid Badar Osmany).jpg Wild 257,376
Yellowhead catfish
Korean bullhead
Tachysurus fulvidraco Yellow catfish Pelteobagrus fulvidraco 3.JPG Cultivated 256,650
Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel Scomberomorus commerson Sccom u0.gif Wild 256,469 Fisheries capture of Scomberomorus commerson.png
Albacore Thunnus alalunga Thunnus alalunga.png Wild 256,082
Madeiran sardinella Sardinella maderensis Sardinella maderensis.jpg Wild 251,342
Bonga shad Ethmalosa fimbriata Ethmalosa fimbriata.png Wild 249,422
Silver cyprinid Rastrineobola argentea Wild 241,122
Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus Oreochromis-niloticus-Nairobi.JPG Wild 235,003
Longtail tuna Thunnus tonggol Thton u0.gif Wild 234,427
Atlantic menhaden Brevoortia tyrannus Brevoortia tyrannus.jpg Wild 224,404 Fisheries capture of Brevoortia tyrannus.png
Giant tiger prawn Penaeus monodon CSIRO ScienceImage 2992 The Giant Tiger Prawn.jpg Wild 212,504
North Pacific hake Merluccius productus Merluccius productus.jpg Wild 206,985
Atlantic horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus Atlantic Horse Mackerel.jpg Wild 205,807 Fisheries capture of Trachurus trachurus.png
Japanese jack mackerel Trachurus japonicus MaAji.jpg Wild 202,816 Fisheries capture of Trachurus japonicus.png
Pacific thread herring Opisthonema libertate Wild 201,993 Fisheries capture of Opisthonema libertate.pngOne of five species in the genus Opisthonema
Bigeye scad Selar crumenophthalmus Fish4443 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library.jpg Wild 200,617
Yellowstripe scad Selaroides leptolepis Yellowstripe scad.jpg Wild 198,600
Chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta Dog Salmon Breeding Male.jpg Wild 189,777
Antarctic krill Euphausia superba Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba).jpg Wild 188,147
Blue swimming crab Portunus pelagicus Portunus pelagicus male.jpg Wild 180,119
Pacific sand lance
Pacific sandlance
Ammodytes personatus Ikanago.jpg Wild 175,892 Mostly manufactured into oil and meal, but also used as food in Japan.[7]
Goldstripe sardinella Sardinella gibbosa Sardinella gibbosa.jpg Wild 161,839

See also


  1. ^ World Food and Agriculture – Statistical Yearbook 2020. Rome: FAO. 2020. doi:10.4060/cb1329en.
  2. ^ "Capture production by principal species in 2012" (PDF). Ftp.fao.org. Retrieved 11 November 2014.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "World aquaculture production of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, etc., by principal species in 2012" (PDF). Ftp.fao.org. Retrieved 11 November 2014.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Ctenopharyngodon idellus". Fao.org. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Hypophthalmichthys molitrix". NAS - Nonindigenous Aquatic Species. US Geological Survey. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  6. ^ Shi, Haitao; Parham, James F; Fan, Zhiyong; Hong, Meiling; Yin, Feng (2008-01-01), "Evidence for the massive scale of turtle farming in China", Oryx, Cambridge University Press, 42, pp. 147–150, doi:10.1017/S0030605308000562, retrieved 2009-12-26
  7. ^ "Ammodytes personatus Girard, 1856, Pacific sandlance". Fishbase.org. Retrieved 10 November 2014.

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