is a RESTful Application Programming Interface (API) to the Fishbase database.

The Fishbase database and web portal are completely separate entities from this API. Fishbase is kind enough to give us a copy of their database, from which we provide some of it through this API.

Consider donating to Fishbase at

Source code for this API:


a message from FishBase:

Dear FishBase Users,

FishBase needs help and I am writing to you because you either have at one point or another requested data to be extracted from FishBase for your own research purposes or have contributed your own data to FishBase.

One of the FishBase funders has had to reduce its commitment and as a result, there is a US$200,000 gap in the FishBase 2018/2019 budget, which will result in forced unpaid leave of key staff with direct consequences for the constant updating and growth of FishBase, a resource on which many of us rely.

Many of us use FishBase regularly in our work given it provides important data on distribution, traits etc. Indeed, these data are so valuable that FishBase receives over 700,000 unique visits per month and underpins key scientific breakthroughs such as the Nature paper on rates of evolution [it’s slower in the tropics!] (see Nature (see and

Key about FishBase is that it is free to everyone in the world, regardless of whether their institutions can afford journal subscriptions.

FishBase co-founder Daniel Pauly once said “sending a bibliography is like providing cookbooks in a famine” and it has been the underpinning ethos of FishBase to make information available equally, regardless of where one works.

So for nearly 30 years, FishBase (, with its team of biologists and programmers has done just that, while constantly improving and expanding this valued resource.

But FishBase needs our help now. So, when you are next online on FishBase and see the donate request pop up, please donate at least $25. That’s one bottle of good VQA wine in Canada or half a carton of decent beer in Australia, 3 packs of organic Hess avocados from Loblaws or 6 latte grandes at Starbucks. If you drink more beer, use more avocado on your toast or are caffeine dependent, please consider a larger donation. IF EVERY MARINE RESEARCHER GETS ON BOARD, we can make a major contribution to FishBase. Imagine if you had to pay to access this type of information.

It’s time to pay it forward!

Thank you for your consideration and we all look forward to a flood of world-wide support to FishBase.

API documentation

find the docs at


Creative Commons License
Fishbase is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

See the bottom of the Fishbase website for details on usage.

The Fishbase API follows the same license as Fishbase. It is free for non-commercial use with attribution as defined by the terms of the CC-BY-NC license (see above). Commercial users should first contact Fishbase maintainers at