Guide to Fish Species | Freshwater & Sea | Angling Direct

This species guide is designed as a helpful resource to anglers and anyone interested in freshwater and marine life. We have paid particularly close attention to factors like fish care and species vulnerability as well as information on habitat, behaviour and angling tips.  Over time, we will be adding new species to the guide as well as making other improvements, so we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

This species guide is designed as a helpful resource to anglers and anyone interested in freshwater and marine life. We have paid particularly close attention to factors like fish care and species vulnerability as well as information on habitat, behaviour and angling tips. Over time, we will be adding new species to the guide as well as making other improvements, so we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

All Fresh Water Sea Water
  • Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

    Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

    Aka Thunnus thynnus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found in cold and warm seas at depths ranging 500 - 1000m.

    Where

    Where

    Distributed throughout the Atlantic, with their spawning grounds in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Atlantic Salmon

    Atlantic Salmon

    Aka Salmo salar

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Flowing river water, in small pools or depressions in the river bed.

    Where

    Where

    Throughout the North Atlantic, however, when migrating, salmon relocate to the upstream of rivers and streams.

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  • Barbel

    Barbel

    Aka Barbus Barbus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Fast-flowing, clean river beds with hard bottoms and thick vegetation.

    Where

    Where

    Barbel are prominent in fast-flowing rivers throughout the UK, France, Holland and most Eastern European waters.

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  • Bass

    Bass

    Aka Dicentrarchus labrax

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Occupying shallow waters, estuaries and out into deeper waters.

    Where

    Where

    North Sea, along the Atlantic coastline of Europe. Bass also live on the south and western coasts year round.

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  • Blue Shark

    Blue Shark

    Aka Prionace glauca

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found in both inshore and offshore waters of at least 60m depths.

    Where

    Where

    Migrates to the UK for summer, mostly around the south coast. Main population in the Atlantic, Pacific & Indian Ocean.

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  • Brown Trout

    Brown Trout

    Aka Salmo trutta

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Eddies, stumps, vegetation patches, islands, and merging currents.

    Where

    Where

    Barents Sea in the north, to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa in the south, stretching eastward to the Caspian Sea.

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  • Chub

    Chub

    Aka Leuciscus cephalus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Deep holes in the margin or by overhanging bushes and trees.

    Where

    Where

    Rivers throughout Europe, from the Atlantic basins in the UK and south to the Adour in France, to around Stockholm.

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  • Cod

    Cod

    Aka Gadus morhua

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Steep beaches, cliffs over sand or offshore in 600m deep waters.

    Where

    Where

    Across the Atlantic, North Sea and in deep UK and European waters. Some move to Scandinavian waters in the summer.

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  • Common Bronze Bream

    Common Bronze Bream

    Aka Abramis brama

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Shady weed beds, deeper areas of still water and slow-flowing rivers.

    Where

    Where

    Europe, north of the Alps and Pyrenees, as well as the Balkans. They are found as far east as the Caspian Sea.

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  • Common Carp

    Common Carp

    Aka Cyprinus carpio communis

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Shallow depths, margins of brackish waters or depths of the lake.

    Where

    Where

    Native to Asia, introduced throughout the world's freshwater waterways with the exception of Mongolia and the Sahara.

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  • Common Skate

    Common Skate

    Aka Dipturus batis

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Near muddy or sandy sea beds, between depths of 100m to 600m.

    Where

    Where

    British waters west of Scotland in particular, and Southwest Ireland, in the Celtic Sea and across the Atlantic.

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  • Conger Eel

    Conger Eel

    Aka Conger conger

    Habitat

    Habitat

    In rocks and wrecks deep in the seabed, or seaweed covered rockpools.

    Where

    Where

    Coastal waters around the UK and Ireland, waters around the European mainland and in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

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  • Crucian Carp

    Crucian Carp

    Aka Carassius Carassius

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Shallow pools in rivers, overgrown or swampy ponds and lakes.

    Where

    Where

    Throughout European freshwater, but rare in the UK and virtually non-existent in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

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  • Dab

    Dab

    Aka Limanda limanda

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Shallow waters, on sandy bottoms and up to a depth of 100m.

    Where

    Where

    Common around the UK and Ireland, but mostly found in the North Sea extending to Scandinavian waters.

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  • Dace

    Dace

    Aka Leuciscus leuciscus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Surfacing on fast-flowing, well-oxygenated rivers around 0.5m deep.

    Where

    Where

    Canals that have an association with river navigations, in the UK and Western Europe, especially France.

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  • Dogfish

    Dogfish

    Aka Scyliorhinus canicula

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found on sandy seabeds in shallow waters, no deeper than 50m.

    Where

    Where

    Shallow UK waters on the south and western coastlines, throughout the Mediterranean, and in Scandinavian waters.

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  • Dover Sole

    Dover Sole

    Aka Solea solea

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Partially submerged into substrate, it lives on sandy or muddy seabeds.

    Where

    Where

    Temperate waters from the south of Norway to Senegal, in the Mediterranean. Sole migrates to the North Sea in winter.

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  • Eel

    Eel

    Aka Anguilla anguilla

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Dark, heavier coloured waters, over silt and mud, and amongst reeds.

    Where

    Where

    The Sargasso Sea as juveniles, followed by a trek inland into Europe's rivers. Eels return to the Sargasso Sea to breed.

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  • F1 Carp

    F1 Carp

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Margins, drop-offs, overhanging trees, snags, high up in open water.

    Where

    Where

    Artificially bred and introduced in match venues across Europe, having been bred with match specimens in mind.

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  • Fifteen-spined Stickleback

    Fifteen-spined Stickleback

    Aka Spinachia spinachia

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Shallow coastal waters, sheltered rock pools, weed beds and estuaries.

    Where

    Where

    Common around the coasts of Britain and Ireland and extends its range throughout European waters too.

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  • Flounder

    Flounder

    Aka Platichthys flesus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    At shorelines over muddy and sandy bottoms or in estuaries and creeks.

    Where

    Where

    British and Irish waters, but also extending into Northern European waters, and the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

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  • Grass Carp

    Grass Carp

    Aka Ctenopharyngodon idella

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Margins, drop-offs, overhanging trees, snags and open water.

    Where

    Where

    Not present at northern and southern extremities, but widespread throughout mid-latitudes in Europe and Asia.

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  • Grayling

    Grayling

    Aka Thymallus thymallus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Around slacks, eddies, vegetation, islands, merging currents in rivers.

    Where

    Where

    Throughout Northern Europe. Grayling can be found from France and the UK all the way to the east of Russia.

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  • Grey Gurnard

    Grey Gurnard

    Aka Eutrigla gurnardus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Muddy seabeds, offshore sandbanks and sandy bottoms down to 140m depth.

    Where

    Where

    Common in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, from Iceland and Norway down to Morocco, the Mediterranean and largely in the UK.

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  • Grey Mullet Species

    Grey Mullet Species

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Harbours, estuaries and naturally sheltered coves and bays.

    Where

    Where

    Mediterranean and in smaller numbers in the Black Sea, along the Atlantic coast of Europe, as well as Southwest Britain.

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  • Gudgeon

    Gudgeon

    Aka Gobio gobio

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Fast running water, riverbeds and gravel bottoms, by the water's edge.

    Where

    Where

    Mostly in England and Wales. Gudgeon also live in parts of Europe where the water quality is similar.

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  • Haddock

    Haddock

    Aka Melanogrammus aeglefinus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Steep-sloping, rocky beaches in deep water, over sand and mud.

    Where

    Where

    Found across Europe, common in cold deep water in the British Isles, Baltic Sea, and Iceland's coasts to Greenland.

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  • Hake

    Hake

    Aka Merluccius merluccius

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Open water, closer to the surface during the day, sea floor at night.

    Where

    Where

    Found in cold waters throughout the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding open waters of western UK and Europe.

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  • Halibut

    Halibut

    Aka Hippoglossus hippoglossus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Prefers waters at least 50m deep and found by deep water rock marks.

    Where

    Where

    Throughout the North Atlantic, particularly Norway, Faroes, Iceland and Southern Greenland, but also the Bay of Biscay.

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  • Herring

    Herring

    Aka Clupea harengus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Rocky seabeds, in deep water during daylight, but rising as light levels fall.

    Where

    Where

    The North Sea, off the coast of Scotland and in Northern Irish waters and parts of eastern Europe.

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  • Ide

    Ide

    Aka Leuciscus idus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found in upper layer of cloudy freshwater rivers and estuaries.

    Where

    Where

    Europe and Western Asia, distributed across colder freshwaters that drain into the North Sea or south of Scandinavia.

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  • Leather Carp

    Leather Carp

    Aka Cyprinus carpio nudus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Lake bottom or by reed beds, overhanging trees or vegetation.

    Where

    Where

    Introduced to most European freshwater fisheries, including France, Austria, Italy, the UK, and Portugal.

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  • Ling

    Ling

    Aka Molva molva

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Offshore waters at around 15m deep, rocky, broken ground, near wrecks.

    Where

    Where

    North and west coast of the UK, extending their range through Icelandic and Scandinavian waters, across Europe.

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  • Mackerel

    Mackerel

    Aka Scomber scombrus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Often found near structures such as piers or rocks in deep water.

    Where

    Where

    Northeast Atlantic from Norway to Morocco and the Canaries, and in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

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  • Minnow

    Minnow

    Aka Phoxinus phoxinus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Inhabiting clean, well oxygenated streams, rivers, lakes and ponds.

    Where

    Where

    With 100 subspecies, they are commonly found in freshwater and saltwater streams worldwide.

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  • Mirror Carp

    Mirror Carp

    Aka Cyprinus carpio specularis

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found in the margin, near drop-offs and by overhanging trees, snags.

    Where

    Where

    French, German, English, Dutch, Belgian, and Italian freshwaters, such as lakes, ponds, fisheries, and rivers.

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  • Perch

    Perch

    Aka Perca fluviatilis

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Overhanging trees, woodwork in the water, rush beds, inlets, outlets.

    Where

    Where

    At northern latitudes across a range similar to that of pike: throughout Europe, North America and Asia.

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  • Pike

    Pike

    Aka Esox Lucius

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Undercut banks, tree roots, bridges or moored boats in slacking water.

    Where

    Where

    Northern latitudes, prevalent in Europe and North America, hence why pike are sometimes referred to as northern pike.

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  • Plaice

    Plaice

    Aka Pleuronectes platessa

    Habitat

    Habitat

    In clear waters with little colour and sometimes found in estuaries.

    Where

    Where

    Denmark, Norway, UK and Ireland, mostly in the North Sea but are also caught in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

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  • Pollock

    Pollock

    Aka Pollachius pollachius

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found over shallow, rocky water or open waters, 300m below sea level.

    Where

    Where

    Atlantic pollock are prolific along the coasts of Northern Europe and tend to stay near structures in deep water.

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  • Rainbow Trout

    Rainbow Trout

    Aka Oncorhynchus mykiss

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Slacks, eddies, stumps or vegetation and merging currents on the river.

    Where

    Where

    Native to rivers that drian into the Pacific, rainbow trout are widely distributed across European rivers and waterways.

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  • Ray Species

    Ray Species

    Aka Batoidea

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Sandy, muddy beds, near rock marks in warm subtropical waters.

    Where

    Where

    Warmer waters in the southwest of the English Channel and the Irish Sea, but avoid the cooler waters of the North Sea.

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  • Red Mullet

    Red Mullet

    Aka Mullus surmuletus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found over sandy and shingle shelves or in calmer open water.

    Where

    Where

    Rare in the UK and European waters but when they do appear they can be found around the south of the British Isles.

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  • Roach

    Roach

    Aka Rutilus rutilus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Near aquatic vegetation, at the bottom of a rivers and lakes.

    Where

    Where

    Found in freshwater lakes, rivers and large shoals in shaded areas. Distributed throughout Europe, Asia, stretching to S

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  • Rudd

    Rudd

    Aka Scardinius erythrophthalmus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Rivers and canals surfaces, by overhanging vegetation and weed beds.

    Where

    Where

    Widely spread throughout Europe and Central Asia, around the basins of the North, Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas.

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  • Ruffe

    Ruffe

    Aka Gymnocephalus cernua

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Fresh and brackish waters of lakes, rivers, estuaries, and ponds.

    Where

    Where

    Freshwater fish native to Eurasia, mostly found in the UK and across Europe, even extending its reach to US freshwaters.

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  • Sand Sole

    Sand Sole

    Aka Pegusa lascaris

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found in shallow waters around 30m deep, over sandy or muddy seabeds.

    Where

    Where

    Southern coasts of England, Wales and Ireland as well as parts of southern Europe extending to the Mediterranean Sea.

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  • Sardine

    Sardine

    Aka Sardina pilchardus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Often found around ports and piers and up to 240km offshore.

    Where

    Where

    Found anywhere there is deep water structures, from Iceland down to North Africa, and throughout the Mediterranean.

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  • Sea Lamprey

    Sea Lamprey

    Aka Petromyzon marinus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Near coastlines, or close to estuaries and easily accessible rivers.

    Where

    Where

    Native to the Atlantic Ocean, often found in Norway down to the Bay of Biscay and in the Mediterranean seas.

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  • Sea Trout

    Sea Trout

    Aka Salmo trutta

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Rivers, brackish estuaries in winter, shallow sandy sea bottoms in summer.

    Where

    Where

    Commonly found across the Atlantic, almost reaching the south of Portugal after migrating from freshwaters.

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  • Shore Rockling

    Shore Rockling

    Aka Gaidropsarus mediterraneus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    In shallow waters no more than 60m, over rocks or by marine vegetation.

    Where

    Where

    Northeast Atlantic, from Norway to the west coast of the British Isles and Southwest Europe and North Africa.

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  • Silver Bream

    Silver Bream

    Aka Blicca bjoerkna

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Turbid waters, boated canals or rivers and brackish waters.

    Where

    Where

    Europe, north of the Alps and Pyrenees, as well as the Balkans. They are found as far as east as the Caspian Sea.

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  • Smelt

    Smelt

    Aka Osmerus eperlanus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found along shorelines or towards estuaries, even up rivers.

    Where

    Where

    UK and Ireland as well as parts of Europe, especially in Germany where lots of the smelt have moved to freshwater.

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  • Smooth-hound

    Smooth-hound

    Aka Mustelus mustelus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found in shallow waters ranging from 5m, over sandy light ground.

    Where

    Where

    South and west of the English Channel, around Ireland, continental Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa.

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  • Snake Pipefish

    Snake Pipefish

    Aka Entelurus aequoreus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    In shallow waters and estuaries camouflaged in seaweed or rockpools.

    Where

    Where

    Snake pipefish are present in the Northeastern Atlantic, including the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.

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  • Sprat

    Sprat

    Aka Sprattus sprattus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Open oceans, pelagic regions, coastal areas, estuaries and bays.

    Where

    Where

    Occupying open waters of the North East Atlantic, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Also on coasts across UK and Europe.

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  • Spurdog

    Spurdog

    Aka Squalus acanthias

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found in deep water, spurdogs will move into shallower water to feed.

    Where

    Where

    Temperate waters on both sides of the Atlantic basin, as well as in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

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  • Tench

    Tench

    Aka Tinca tinca

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Thick mud, silt, vegetation, weed beds and marginal shelves.

    Where

    Where

    Common throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Tench are not found at latitudes south of the Equator.

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  • Three-Bearded Rockling

    Three-Bearded Rockling

    Aka Gaidropsarus vulgaris

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Offshore on rocky areas, 100-120m deep, but also on soft bottoms.

    Where

    Where

    Found in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, along the central Norwegian coast, the North Sea and predominantly in British Isl

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  • Thresher Shark

    Thresher Shark

    Aka Alopias vulpinus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found in deep waters during the day and at the surface at night.

    Where

    Where

    Highly migratory, they are found in tropical and temperate waters of the UK and Europe, by coasts and in the open ocean.

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  • Tope

    Tope

    Aka Galeorhinus galeus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Found near headlands and offshore reefs that hold lots of baitfish.

    Where

    Where

    Found in temperate waters across Europe, in the Northeast Atlantic, the Mediterranean and waters around Iceland.

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  • Triggerfish

    Triggerfish

    Aka Balistes capriscus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Under floating weed, coral reefs and shallow water no deeper than 30m.

    Where

    Where

    Eastern Atlantic, and in the Mediterranean. they have spread northwards and are present as far north as the Hebrides.

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  • Turbot

    Turbot

    Aka Scophthalmus maximus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Muddy and mixed sea beds, roughly 1.2km offshore in 25m deep water.

    Where

    Where

    Found all around the coast of the UK, across European waters, throughout the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

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  • Weever Fish

    Weever Fish

    Aka Echiichthys vipera

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Sea bottoms over sand or mud, usually buried partically to hide.

    Where

    Where

    Eastern Atlantic from the North Sea around the UK to Morocco and Madeira, and in the Mediterranean Sea.

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  • Wels Catfish

    Wels Catfish

    Aka Silurus glanis

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Dark spots, overhanging trees, weed beds, lilies, hollows in the bank.

    Where

    Where

    Originally Eastern Europe, but introduced in Western Europe. Nowadays they are widespread across Europe.

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  • Whiting

    Whiting

    Aka Merlangius merlangus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Sandy, muddy banks and shallow sea beds right at the edges of weed beds.

    Where

    Where

    Common throughout European waters such as the North Atlantic and mainly across the British Isles in cold seasons.

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  • Wolffish

    Wolffish

    Aka Anarhichas lupus

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Primarily stationary fish, rarely leaving their rocky habitats.

    Where

    Where

    Preferring low temperatures, wolffish swim in the North Atlantic, off the coasts of the UK, Iceland and Greenland.

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  • Wrasse

    Wrasse

    Aka Labridae

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Rocky shorelines in temperate, tropical and subtropical waters.

    Where

    Where

    Common in tropical, subtropical waters of the Atlantic and along South and South-Western coasts of England.

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  • Yellowfin Tuna

    Yellowfin Tuna

    Aka Thunnus albacares

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Oil rigs, rock formations, offshore structures, or in open waters.

    Where

    Where

    All tropical and subtropical seas and oceans, bar the Mediterranean. They are sometimes caught in the North Sea.

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  • Zander

    Zander

    Aka Sander lucioperca

    Habitat

    Habitat

    Reservoirs, gravel pits and large rivers with well-oxygenated water.

    Where

    Where

    Across Eurasia, from the Caspian Sea in the east to the Ebro River in Spain. Zander were introduced to the UK.

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70 Species Records

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