List of commercially important fish species

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.

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

This table includes mainly fish species, 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 weightEdit

Common name(s) Binomial name Image Wild/
in tonnes
Grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella   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   Wild 4,692,855
Silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix   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   Cultivated 3,791,913
Japanese littleneck,
Manila clam,
Filipino Venus,
Japanese cockle,
Japanese carpet shell
Venerupis philippinarum   Cultivated 3,785,311
Alaska pollock Theragra chalcogramma   Wild 3,271,426  This species is often the main ingredient in the so-called crab sticks.
Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus   Cultivated 3,197,330
Whiteleg shrimp Penaeus vannamei   Cultivated 3,178,721
Bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis   Cultivated 2,898,816
Skipjack tuna Katsuwonus pelamis   Wild 2,795,339
Catla Catla catla   Cultivated 2,761,022
Crucian carp Carassius carassius   Cultivated 2,451,845
Atlantic salmon Salmo salar   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   Wild 1,849,969  
Chub mackerel Scomber japonicus   Wild 1,581,314  
Rohu Labeo rohita   Cultivated 1,555,546
Yellowfin tuna Thunnus albacares   Wild 1,352,204
Japanese anchovy Engraulis japonicus   Wild 1,296,383
Largehead hairtail Trichiurus lepturus   Wild 1,235,373
Atlantic cod Gadus morhua   Wild 1,114,382
European pilchard Sardina pilchardus   Wild 1,019,392
Capelin Mallotus villosus   Wild 1,006,533
Jumbo flying squid Dosidicus gigas   Wild 950,630
Milkfish Chanos chanos   Cultivated 943,259
Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus   Wild 910,697  
Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss   Cultivated 855,982
Giant tiger prawn
Asian tiger shrimp
Penaeus monodon   Cultivated 855,055
Araucanian herring Clupea bentincki Wild 848,466  
Chinese razor clam
Agemaki clam
Sinonovacula constricta   Cultivated 720,466
Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis   Cultivated 714,392
Wuchang bream Megalobrama amblycephala Cultivated 705,821
Pacific oyster
Japanese oyster
Miyagi oyster
Crassostrea gigas   Cultivated 608,688
Louisiana crawfish
Red swamp crawfish
Procambarus clarkii   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   Wild 578,693  
Indian oil sardine Sardinella longiceps   Wild 560,145
Black carp Mylopharyngodon piceus   Cultivated 495,074
European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus   Wild 489,297
Northern snakehead Channa argus   Cultivated 480,854
Pacific cod Gadus macrocephalus   Wild 474,047
Pacific saury Cololabis saira   Wild 460,961
Pacific herring Clupea pallasii   Wild 451,457  
Bigeye tuna Thunnus obesus   Wild 450,546
Chilean jack mackerel Trachurus murphyi   Wild 447,060  
Yellow croaker Larimichthys polyactis   Wild 437,613
Haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus   Wild 430,917
Gazami crab Portunus trituberculatus   Wild 429,959
Amur catfish
Japanese common catfish
Silurus asotus   Cultivated 413,350
European sprat Sprattus sprattus   Wild 408,509  
Pink salmon Oncorhynchus gorbuscha   Wild 406,131
Mrigal carp Cirrhinus mrigala Cultivated 396,476
Channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus   Cultivated 394,179 See also: Aquaculture of catfish
Blood cockle Anadara granosa   Cultivated 391,574
Blue whiting Micromesistius poutassou   Wild 378,794
Hilsa shad Tenualosa ilisha   Wild 376,734
Daggertooth pike conger Muraenesox cinereus   Wild 372,704
California pilchard Sardinops caeruleus   Wild 364,386
Cape horse mackerel Trachurus capensis   Wild 356,795
Pacific anchoveta Cetengraulis mysticetus Wild 352,945
Japanese flying squid Todarodes pacificus   Wild 351,229
Argentine shortfin squid Illex argentinus Wild 340,622
Pollock Pollachius virens   Wild 336,838  
Chinese softshell turtle Pelodiscus sinensis   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   Wild 328,927
Indian mackerel Rastrelliger kanagurta   Wild 325,612
Asian swamp eel Monopterus albus   Cultivated 321,006
Yesso scallop Patinopecten yessoensis   Wild 318,081
Argentine hake Merluccius hubbsi   Wild 318,067
Northern prawn Pandalus borealis   Wild 315,511
Short mackerel Rastrelliger brachysoma   Wild 312,930  
Southern rough shrimp Trachysalambria curvirostris   Wild 308,257
Southern African anchovy Engraulis capensis Wild 307,606
Pond loach Misgurnus anguillicaudatus   Cultivated 294,456
Iridescent shark Pangasius hypophthalmus   Cultivated 285,089
Mandarin fish
Chinese perch
Siniperca chuatsi   Cultivated 281,502
Nile perch Lates niloticus   Wild 278,675
Round sardinella Sardinella aurita   Wild 273,018
Japanese pilchard Sardinops melanostictus   Wild 269,972
American sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus   Wild 267,745
Bombay-duck Harpadon nehereus   Wild 257,376
Yellowhead catfish
Korean bullhead
Tachysurus fulvidraco   Cultivated 256,650
Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel Scomberomorus commerson   Wild 256,469  
Albacore Thunnus alalunga   Wild 256,082
Madeiran sardinella Sardinella maderensis   Wild 251,342
Bonga shad Ethmalosa fimbriata   Wild 249,422
Silver cyprinid Rastrineobola argentea Wild 241,122
Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus   Wild 235,003
Longtail tuna Thunnus tonggol   Wild 234,427
Atlantic menhaden Brevoortia tyrannus   Wild 224,404  
Giant tiger prawn Penaeus monodon   Wild 212,504
North Pacific hake Merluccius productus   Wild 206,985
Atlantic horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus   Wild 205,807  
Japanese jack mackerel Trachurus japonicus   Wild 202,816  
Pacific thread herring Opisthonema libertate Wild 201,993  One of five species in the genus Opisthonema
Bigeye scad Selar crumenophthalmus   Wild 200,617
Yellowstripe scad Selaroides leptolepis   Wild 198,600
Chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta   Wild 189,777
Antarctic krill Euphausia superba   Wild 188,147
Blue swimming crab Portunus pelagicus   Wild 180,119
Pacific sand lance
Pacific sandlance
Ammodytes personatus   Wild 175,892 Mostly manufactured into oil and meal, but also used as food in Japan.[7]
Goldstripe sardinella Sardinella gibbosa   Wild 161,839

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ World Food and Agriculture – Statistical Yearbook 2020. Rome: FAO. 2020. doi:10.4060/cb1329en.
  2. ^ "Capture production by principal species in 2012" (PDF). Retrieved 11 November 2014.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "World aquaculture production of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, etc., by principal species in 2012" (PDF). Retrieved 11 November 2014.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Ctenopharyngodon idellus". 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". Retrieved 10 November 2014.