Publishing for FishBase

With FishBase being conceived as a scientific database, great care has been devoted to identify the sources of the encoded information, both to assign proper credit to its original authors and to allow verification (by checking the documents from which the information was extracted).

This approach is not applied strictly, i.e., there are cases where the FishBase records contain details that are not given in the publication cited as source, e.g., as in the case of occurrence records, extracted from the files of a demersal trawl survey documented through a summary report that does not include the raw data.

Still, the principle holds, and it has an important consequence: unpublished data may not be entered into FishBase.

FishBase tables were designed to serve as a template

The FishBase tables were designed, on the other hand, to serve as template for collecting various types of information. Thus, for example, the table used to document length-weight relationships (the ‘LENGTH-WEIGHT table’, this vol.) is also meant to serve as guide for the type of information that should be included when publishing such relationship.

Consequently, we have encouraged the writing and submission to the Fishbyte section of Naga, the ICLARM Quarterly, of manuscripts that followed this format, and thus have enabled the publication of a large number of records for the table in question (see Torres 1991; Kulbicki et al. 1993).

Also, we have made arrangements with the ACP-EU Fisheries Research Initiative for publication of edited collections of related contributions in the report series of the Initiative.

We also have an agreement with the Journal of Applied Ichthyology of incorporating in the section devoted to short communications articles in a format standardized such as to match that of FishBase tables (e.g., Froese, 1998). This enables documentation, in the refereed literature, of those key features of fish that are often straightforward to describe but that are commonly neglected, although essential for sophisticated or comparative analyses (L/W relationships, growth parameters, food and feeding habits, reproductive characteristics, etc.).

We believe that such standardized short communications will become a much-appreciated section of journals, as is the case for the standardized, brief descriptions of new compounds included in chemistry journals. Please contact the FishBase Project if you have a suitable manuscript.


Froese, R. 1998. Length-weight relationships for 18 less-studied fish species. J. Appl. Ichthyol. 14:117-118.

Kulbicki, M., G. Mou Tham, P. Thollot and L. Wantiez. 1993. Length-weight relationships of fish from the lagoon of New Caledonia. Naga, ICLARM Q. 16(2-3): 26-29.

Torres, F., Jr. 1991. Tabular data on marine fishes from Southern Africa. II. Growth parameters. Fishbyte 9(2):37-38.

Daniel Pauly