Fish

Fish - UK and Ireland : Fish don't receive as much attention as some other groups of wildlife, and unless you're an angler it may be a surprise to learn that there are around 50 different types of fish in our freshwaters, plus many more in our coastal waters and seas.

Fish don't receive as much attention as some other groups of wildlife, and unless you're an angler it may be a surprise to learn that there are around 50 different types of fish in our freshwaters, plus many more in our coastal waters and seas.

To watch fish in the wild is of course a bit more difficult than for many land-based groups. Some species can be readily observed in shallow, clear waters such as chalk streams or the edges of lakes, or you may be lucky enough to see salmon or trout leaping up the waterfalls of one of their breeding rivers.

For information on freshwater fishing, for which a licence is needed, see the Environment Agency's web pages on fishing.

Identification

Important characters for identifying fish include their overall size, colour and shape, the number, shape and distribution of their fins (especially the fins on their back), and the presence or absence of 'barbels' (fleshy 'whiskers' near the mouth).

Useful links

Marine fish

  • Marine fish are recorded as part of the MarLIN project, which has online identification resources and recording forms.
  • The Marine Biological Association promotes research into marine life, publishes a range of journals and other resources, and runs events and courses.
  • Seasearch works with volunteer divers to record marine habitats, as well as running projects on particular species.
  • The Marine Conservation Society promotes the conservation of marine habitats and species.
26 Sep 2008
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