World capture fisheries and aquaculture production by species group, from FAO's Statistical Yearbook 2021[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 food fish species, but also listed are crustaceans (crabs and shrimps), cephalopods (squids and cuttlefishs), bivalves, and a reptile (softshell 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 Cultivated 6,068,014 China is the major producer of the grass carp, which 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 also


  1. ^ World Food and Agriculture – Statistical Yearbook 2021. 2021. doi:10.4060/cb4477en. ISBN 978-92-5-134332-6. S2CID 240163091. Retrieved 2021-12-13. ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)
  2. ^ "Capture production by principal species in 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-18. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  3. ^ "World aquaculture production of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, etc., by principal species in 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-18. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  4. ^ "FAO Fisheries & Aquaculture". Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  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, vol. 42, pp. 147–150, doi:10.1017/S0030605308000562
  7. ^ "Ammodytes personatus Girard, 1856, Pacific sandlance". Retrieved 10 November 2014.