FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
With the contribution of aquaculture to world food fish and shellfish supply steadily increasing (FAO, 1995a) and the mass of information available on the different species cultured increasing dramatically, the FAO Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service of the Fisheries Department identified the need to gather accurate information on the most important species cultured worldwide. This list represents the first step toward a more complete publication which will eventually include information on taxonomy, biological characteristics, culture techniques, reproduction, feeding, diseases, natural range and habitat, regions where farmed and aquaculture status for the most important species cultured worldwide.
The starting point to prepare such a list was clearly identified in the Aquaculture Production Statistics prepared for every year since 1984 by the FAO, Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Service. After a screening of the aquaculture literature it was evident that there are other species which for different reasons are still not reported by Member Countries to FAO but which already make an important contribution to world aquaculture production. To extract these species from the enormous amount of papers published in the recent years on aquaculture matters, an essential tool has been the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA, 1993 and 1996, consulted through the CD-ROM versions) which also allowed the quantification of the importance of the species through counting the number of papers dedicated for each species. After this initial screening, many other sources were consulted and these are listed in the References section which includes about 120 records.
During the consultation of papers and books dealing with aquaculture species, it was evident to the Author that often some confusion is generated by the incorrect use of scientific and vernacular names. For this reason, each section of the list regarding the three major animal groups (fishes, crustaceans and molluscs) is accompanied by notes which try, without any pretension to be definitive, to clarify the information on scientific names, common names, environment, production and geographical distribution of the various species every time this has been found inconsistent between different sources.
Dr. Devin Bartley and Dr. Albert G.J. Tacon, Fishery Resource Officers, FAO Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service, who supervised the work, provided useful suggestions and assisted with the editing of the manuscript.
2. STRUCTURE OF THE LIST
3.1 List of fish species
3.2 Notes on fishes
4.1 List of crustacean species
4.2 Notes on crustaceans
5.1 List of mollusc species
5.2 Notes on molluscs
6. CONCLUDING REMARKS