Among the invertebrates, the Mollusca, which includes squid and octopus as well as shellfish (mussels, oysters, clams) and the Arthropoda, which includes crustacea such as crab, lobster and shrimp, add substantially to fisheries. A number of aquatic plants, mainly algae such as Laminaria, are of great interest, both as food and as a source of additives widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
Detailed information on bio-ecological characteristics, fishing techniques, processing and trade of the main fishery species is collected by FAO and compiled by the Species Information and Data Programme (SIDP) of the FAO Fisheries Department in various forms and media. A list of the most important species for fisheries (around 600) has been established, based on annual landings (over 10 000 tonnes), regional interest from an economic or social point of view or because these species are endangered or threatened by fisheries.
A series of fact sheets has been produced for these selected species, in collaboration with the FAO Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS) using SIDP database material. The fact sheets provide brief, updated and comprehensive written and graphic species information including nomenclature, description, biology and ecology, geographical distribution and interest for fisheries.