Antonio Sicurezza, still-life with anchovies (1972)

Fish and fish products are consumed as food all over the world. With other seafoods, they provides the world's prime source of high-quality protein; 14–16 percent of the animal protein consumed worldwide. Over one billion people rely on fish as their primary source of animal protein.[1][2]

Fish and other aquatic organisms are also processed into various food and non-food products.

Live, fresh or chilled is often the most preferred and highly priced form of fish and represents the largest share of fish for direct human consumption, 45 percent in 2016, followed by frozen (31 percent), prepared and preserved (12 percent) and cured (dried, salted, in brine, fermented smoked) (12 percent). Freezing represents the main method of processing fish for human consumption; it accounted for 56 percent of total processed fish for human consumption and 27 percent of total fish production in 2016.[3]

Major improvements in processing as well as in refrigeration, ice-making and transportation have allowed increasing commercialization and distribution of fish in a greater variety of product forms in the past few decades. However, developing countries still mainly use fish in live or fresh form (53 percent of the fish destined for human consumption in 2016), soon after landing or harvesting from aquaculture. Loss or wastage between landing and consumption decreased, but still accounts for an estimated 27 percent of landed fish.[3]


In Ancient Roman society, garum, a type of fish sauce condiment, was popular.

Sharkskin and rayskin which are covered with, in effect, tiny teeth (dermal denticles) were formerly used in the same manner as sandpaper is in the modern era. These skins are also used to make leather. Rayskin leather (same'gawa) is used in the manufacture of hilts of traditional Japanese swords.[4] Some other species of fish are also used to make fish leather, and this material is more and more popular among luxury brands such as Prada, Dior, Fendi, and also emerging designers. Thus, it is now possible to wear shoes made of salmon leather, a jacket made of perch leather, or a handbag made of wolffish or cod leather. Once tanned, the leather is non-odorous and is stronger than other, traditional, leathers of similar thickness.[5]

The flesh of many fish are primarily valued as a source of food; there are many edible species of fish, and many fish produce edible roe. Other marine life taken as food includes shellfish, crustaceans, and sea cucumber. Sea plants such as kombu are used in some regional cuisine.

Processed fish products

Other processed products


Live fish & pets

Fish may also be collected live for research, observation, or for the aquarium trade.

See also


 This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO (license statement/permission). Text taken from In brief, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, 2018​, FAO, FAO.


  1. ^ World Health Organization.
  2. ^ Tidwell, James H. and Allan, Geoff L.
  3. ^ a b In brief, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, 2018 (PDF). FAO. 2018.
  4. ^ "Styles of Ray Skin Wrapping on Handle".
  5. ^ "Technical information about fish leather". Archived from the original on 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  6. ^ Moghadasian MH (May 2008). "Advances in dietary enrichment with n-3 fatty acids". Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 48 (5): 402–10. doi:10.1080/10408390701424303. PMID 18464030.
  7. ^ Adams, Cecil. 31 March 2000. "Does lipstick contain fish scales?". Accessed 24 January 2007.