The 10 Best Books About Fish: Diving Deep

Fish have been around for hundreds of millions of years and they are found in bodies of water around the world today. With over 33,000 different species, they have the greatest diversity of any group of vertebrates. If you want to learn more about these animals, try reading one of the books on our list. This selection covers everything from anatomy to history.

Best Ones

  1. Four Fish: The future of the last wild food
  2. Cod: A biography of the fish that changed the world
  3. The Ocean of Life: The fate of man and the sea
  4. World Without Fish: An Illustrated Warning
  5. What a Fish Knows: The inner lives of our underwater cousins
  6. American Catch: The fight for our local seafood
  7. The Old Man and the Sea: A classic novella
  8. Peterson Field Guide: Freshwater Fishes in North America
  9. Ocean: The Definitive Visual Guide
  10. Fishes: A Guide to Their Diversity

Why Read About Fish?

Whether you’re looking to find fish, own a pet fish, or just have a love of the sea, you might find something interesting in a book about aquatic life. Fish may seem like simple creatures who are merely driven by instinct, but there’s a lot more to them than that.

While many people think of them as unintelligent, some fish have complex mating rituals, and others have even been observed using tools in the wild.

More Information

Fish are among the most diverse animals on the planet, with over 33,000 species that have been discovered so far. They populate bodies of water from ponds and lakes to rivers and oceans, and some of them can survive at depths where water pressure alone would kill an unprotected human. If you want to learn more about these fascinating creatures, you might want to read up on them. Here are 10 of the best books on the subject.

10. Fishes: A Guide to Their Diversity by Philip Hastings, Harold Jack Walker, and Grantly Galland

The Amazing Diversity of Fishes Cover

This informative guide covers the basic anatomy of all 82 orders of these animals, giving you a comprehensive look at the different ways in which their bodies function. They also dive deep into over 150 families of fish and the traits that make them distinct from one another.

This work is a good choice for marine scientists, students, or even hobbyists who want to learn more about the inhabitants of the ocean. It’s full of high-quality photographs that visual learners may find incredibly helpful.

9. Ocean: The Definitive Visual Guide

Ocean_ The Definitive Visual Guide Covers

Assembled by a group of knowledgeable authors, this book is full of helpful information backed up by photographs and illustrations that convey powerful messages more clearly than words alone could. Readers will be able to learn quite a bit about the underwater world, from geological processes that affect the ocean floor to details about superstorms and tsunamis.

And, of course, there is plenty to be learned about the inhabitants of the ocean, from sharks to jellyfish. Both internal factors like anatomy and external ones such as habitat are covered, providing the reader with a comprehensive understanding of these aquatic creatures.

8. Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes

Freshwater Fishes Field Guide - Peterson

This updated edition covers the hundreds of freshwater species found in North America. It includes detailed maps, showing you where each type can be found. There are also a number of illustrations to help you tell similar fish apart. This can be very useful because some species are only slightly different from one another, so small details in coloration or shape can be vitally important.

7. Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”

“This classic novella tells the story of an old Cuban fisherman who battles a giant marlin in the Gulf Stream. It is a tale of both physical and moral challenges told through simple, yet powerful language. This work may not be as informative as the others on our list, but it should be a compelling read for anyone interested in the seafaring life.

6. “American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood,” by Paul Greenberg

The second installment in the author’s marine trilogy, this book explores the reasons why the United States has been importing more seafood in recent years, rather than eating local. According to him, pollution has affected many of the country’s bodies of water, rendering marine life there inedible. This is just one of the problems Greenberg explores as he delves into the history of New York oysters, Gulf shrimp, and Alaskan salmon.

5. “What a Fish Knows: the Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins,” by Jonathan Balcombe

What A Fish Knows Cover

An expert in animal behavior. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a fish, you should find this an interesting read.

The author explores how fishes engage in everything from courtship rituals to using tools and punishing wrongdoers. These revelations stand in stark contrast to the image most people have of these aquatic animals as mindless, unfeeling creatures.

4. “World Without Fish,” by Mark Kurlansky

World Without Fish Cover

Aimed at a younger audience, this informative and easy-to-understand book examines what’s happening to the oceans in the present, and how it could drastically affect the future. Woven throughout is a 12-part graphic novel that follows the story of a father and daughter living in a world where ocean life is rapidly disappearing.

After portraying the problems, the author offers solutions, including sustainable fishing and habitat protection.

3. “The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea,” by marine scientist Callum Roberts

This work outlines the ways that Earth’s seas have changed over the past few decades, and how rising temperatures, ocean acidification, and pollution have put several aquatic species at risk. Readers will learn what steps humans have to take if we want to preserve our oceans before it’s too late.

2 . “Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World,” by Mark Kurlansky

By focusing on one species, this book is able to tell a rich and detailed story about the impact that this fish has had on the world. It delves into historical figures like Vikings and the soldiers in the Spanish Armada, and how they were affected by cod. It also looks at the way that the fish population has risen and fallen over the years.

1. “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food,” by Paul Greenberg

By examining the plight of sea bass, salmon, cod, and tuna, this book shows the reader the problems that plague the modern fishing industry. Overfishing puts a huge strain on wild populations, but farming can be just as problematic when done irresponsibly. Luckily, there are ways to fish sustainably and farm without harming the environment.

Whether you’re interested in the past, present, or future of ocean life, one of these books should sate your curiosity. Since more than half of our planet’s surface is covered in water, it’s not a bad idea to learn a little more about the life that thrives under the sea.


What are some good books for children to learn about fish?

“About Fish: A Guide for Children” by Cathryn Sill is a great book for kids. It provides a simple and engaging introduction to the world of fish, making it an excellent choice for young readers.

Are there any books that combine fish and fiction?

Yes, “Fish in a Tree” is a popular book that uses the metaphor of a fish in a tree to explore themes of learning and individuality. It’s a great read for both children and adults.

Are there books that focus on specific types of fish?

Yes, there are many books that focus on specific types of fish. For example, “Fun Facts About Koi Fish: 41 Frequently Asked Questions” is a book that provides detailed information about Koi fish.

Are there any books that discuss the significance of fish in our ecosystem?

“The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea” by Callum Roberts is a book that discusses the importance of fish in our ecosystem and the threats they face due to human activities.

Are there books that provide fun facts about fish?

Yes, there are several books that provide fun facts about fish. One such book is “Fun Facts About Fascinating Fish” by NOAA Fisheries.

Final Words

In conclusion, the world of fish is vast, diverse, and incredibly fascinating. From their intricate behaviors to their significant impact on our world, there’s so much to learn and appreciate about these aquatic creatures. Whether you’re a marine biologist, a fish enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the wonders of nature, these books offer a wealth of knowledge and insights.

They not only educate us about the diverse species of fish and their unique characteristics but also highlight the pressing issues affecting our oceans today and demanding its conservation. So, dive into these books and embark on a journey of exploration and discovery beneath the waves. After all, understanding and appreciating the life that thrives under the sea is a step towards preserving it for future generations.