FishBase: All The (Known) Fish In The World
January 7, 2004 1:10 AM   Subscribe

Fish, Glorious Fish: They're all here. In fact, I'm having great trouble stifling my natural instinct to call it the most useful, wonderful website in the world. Unless you don't like fish. And even then...
posted by MiguelCardoso (19 comments total)
I can't find bacalhau. What kind of second rate fish taxonomy database leaves salt cod out? Feh.
posted by zaelic at 1:18 AM on January 7, 2004

Zaelic, it's not salt cod in the wild. Humans are generally responsible for the salt part. You're probably thinking of this Newfoundland Cod variety.
posted by MiG at 1:27 AM on January 7, 2004

Zaelic: there are about 20 types of bacalhau listed. Go for the Portuguese version, insert "bacalhau" in the search box and enjoy! (I don't know how to link to the search results!)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:37 AM on January 7, 2004

Here's your bacalhau, zaelic - but there are more species listed if you do the full search.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:42 AM on January 7, 2004

I am stunned I ever managed to get through each day without it.
posted by rudyfink at 1:54 AM on January 7, 2004

Miguel, we all know that Portuguese cod comes from Newfoundland. Well, came from Newfoundland. Not much left there now.
posted by MiG at 2:07 AM on January 7, 2004

Great post. I've just bought a tropical fish tank and have no idea what half the fish are. Only problem is, it doesn't support my 'Small yellow sucker fish, resembles streak of piss' descriptions.
posted by MintSauce at 4:39 AM on January 7, 2004

A veritable smorgasbord of piscatorial delight.Thanks Migs
posted by johnny7 at 4:42 AM on January 7, 2004

MiG: you're quite right. The fact that *cough* you're also Portuguese, called Miguel and live in Canada may have something to do with your expertise on this matter. The link in your first comment points to the cod universally used for bacalhau, in all its many guises. (All links in English.).

Nowadays, since the terrible depletion (guilty!) of the Newfoundland (Terra Nova) banks, most of our cod comes from Norway and Iceland, though the very best is still salted and sun-dried here in Portugal. There are at least 365 ways of cooking it - one for every day of the year - and, despite the fact that it's not cheap any more, most of us still have it at least twice a week. Because we crave it.

The best salt cod is ideally soaked for 36 hours in a cold, running stream - though tap water must do most of the time. Notwithstanding the many ways of cooking it, really good bacalhau (thick, high and luscious) is best served simply boiled or charcoal-grilled, with cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil and (not necessarily) garlic.

The interesting thing is, of course, that we have an abundant supply of fresh Atlantic wild fish, thanks to our bountiful coasts - but bacalhau is so deliciously well made, it's still (ever more so) our favourite fish. Or perhaps it's just another case of wanting what's most difficult? ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:38 AM on January 7, 2004

Yes, this is great.
posted by drobot at 6:21 AM on January 7, 2004

I didn't know that there so many species of Mudskipper. The UK has a giant Mudskipper. There are slender Mudskippers, silver Mudskippers, Pug faced Mudskippers, False Mudskippers....

Do they all climb trees? Are some beginning to evolve more prehensile pectoral fins? I have to know! - They have intruded into my dreams, staring at me bug-eyed from their trees.

Fishbase rocks. but it won't help me sate my Mudskipper lust today - I think Fishbase is crashing under the Metafilter generated press of Pescaphiles.

Fishy fish fish?
posted by troutfishing at 6:30 AM on January 7, 2004

Any database that includes both horned pout and bunker is just great in my book! (And check out the worldwide names for bluefish!)
posted by ahimsakid at 7:36 AM on January 7, 2004

And for a different kind of fish guide, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a guide to selecting seafood for eating, separating the goods into three levels of sustainable practices. Their pocket guide is extremely handy.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:51 AM on January 7, 2004

Oh wow! -- they hook into Bill Eschmeyer's Catalog of Fishes. Which was my first big taxonomic database project (if you don't count all those type catalogs in IZ), back when it was only the Genera of Fishes, we were aiming at a print publication, and we were working in dBase. For one of the department open houses we strung a fan-fold printout of the complete database round the stacks. It's nice to see that it has prospered.
posted by SealWyf at 8:06 AM on January 7, 2004

This is just a dating pool (ha!) for fishfucker.
posted by languagehat at 8:34 AM on January 7, 2004

There is also the Cephbase, if your tastes run more to the squishy fishies (or cephlopods, don't ya know)

Also, the Tree of Life project is useful for the whole bio-enchilada, I think they might share data from the fishbase.
posted by milovoo at 8:47 AM on January 7, 2004

People put the salt in salted cod? All my youthful illusions... gone...! Seriously, though, salt cod is my answer to pricey drug habits. In terms of price-per-mass vs. the time it takes me to cram it all into my face it is a pretty expensive habit. I've got three kilos in my fridge. And I can't get it in the land-locked east European city where I live, so I have to wrap it up in miles of plastic and smuggle it through airports.

Best name for fat, bony, pig-like fish: carp in Romanian is "crap."
posted by zaelic at 9:45 AM on January 7, 2004

This is a fantastic amount of information, especially for a sometimes tour guide who lives about a half-mile from the ocean. Thanks, Miguel. (Although they didn’t seem to know who Fontella Bass was.)
posted by LeLiLo at 10:11 AM on January 7, 2004

Post, glorious post.

Thanks for the fish M.C.!
posted by hama7 at 10:44 AM on January 7, 2004

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