Fish and Aquatic Conservation





Fish Glossary

Adfluvial – Migrating between lakes, rivers and streams.

Algae – A plant or plant like organism that usually grows in water and produces chlorophyll but does not produce seeds.

Alkaline – This is a condition where water can be described as basic and has a pH less than 7.0. Water that has a pH of 7.0 is neutral. Water that has pH greater than 7.0 is acidic.

Ambush – To make a surprise attack on someone or something from a concealed (out–of-sight) position.

Amphibian – A cold-blooded vertebrate of the class Amphibia, comprising frogs and toads, newts and salamanders and caecilians (burrowing, limbless amphibians resembling worms).

Amphidromous – Migrating from fresh to salt water or migrating from salt water to fresh water at some stage of the life cycle other than the breeding or spawning period.

Anadromous – Fish that live in salt water as adults and spawn in fresh water.

Apex predator – An apex predator is a predator residing at the top of the food chain in which no other animals consume this species as prey.

Aquatic – Living or found in water; of or relating to the animals and plants that live in or near water.

Aquaculture – The rearing of aquatic animals or the cultivation of Aquatic plants for food.

Bag Limit/creel limit – The number and/or size of a species that a person can legally take in a day or trip. This may or may not be the same as a possession limit.

Bait - Food used to entice fish or other animals as prey.

Barbel – A fleshy filament growing from the mouth or snout of a fish.

Bayou – A sluggish, creek or stream that is connected to a larger tributary.

Brackish - A mixture of fresh water and salt water.

Broadcast Spawners – The simultaneous extrusion of eggs by female fish and milt by male fish into the water column to insure egg fertilization.

Brood stock – A small population of any animal maintained as a source of population replacement or for the establishment of new populations in suitable habitats.

Candidate Species – A candidate species is a species that is not currently listed as threatened or endangered when there may be sufficient information to possibly warrant listing them as such but are not evaluated because there are higher priority species to be evaluated and potentially listed at this given time.

Canine – In mammalian oral anatomy, the canine teeth, also called cuspids or “dog teeth, or fangs are relatively long, pointed teeth. In fish, canine refers to a similar look of fish teeth undergoing morphological changes associated with spawning.

Cannabalistic - The act of an individual of one species consuming an individual of the same species.

Catadromous – Fish that live in fresh water as adults and spawn in salt water.

Caviar – The pickled roe or eggs of sturgeon or other large fish. Caviar is considered a delicacy by many.

Copepods – The group of small or microscopic aquatic crustaceans belonging to the class of Copepoda.

Char/charrs – Fish of the Genus Salvelinus that are closely related to salmon and trout. This group includes Arctic Char, Dolly Varden, Lake Trout and Brook trout in North America.

Chemoreceptor – A sensory cell or organ responsive to chemical stimuli.

Cienega – A swamp or marsh normally formed or fed by a spring or springs.

Crustacean – A group of freshwater and saltwater animals having no backbone, with jointed legs and a hard shell made chitin. Includes shrimp, crabs, lobsters and crayfish.

Commercial fishery – A term related to the whole process of catching and marketing fish and shellfish for sale. “It refers to and includes fisheries resources, fisherman, and related businesses directly or indirectly involved in harvesting processing, or sales.

Continental shelf – The relatively shallow seabed (up to 200 meters (656 ft.)) surrounding a continent.

Creel – A wicker basket for carrying fish.

Critical habitat - It is a specific geographic area(s) that contains features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and that may require special management and protection.

Deciduous – refers to those trees and shrubs that lose all of their leaves at one point during the year. Most often they lose their leaves during the fall or autumn part of the year.

Demersal - A fish living close to the floor of the sea or a lake.

Detritus – Organic debris formed from the decay of dead organisms.

Diadromous – Fish which in habit salt water, fresh water and brackish water during their lifetime.

Diatom – A diatom is a form of photosynthetic algae or aquatic plant with distinctive transparent cells composed of silicon.

Distinct population segment – A distinct population segment is a vertebrate population or group of populations that is discrete from other populations of the species and significant in relation to the entire species. The Endangered Species Act provides for listing species, sub-species and distinct population segments of vertebrate species.

Dorsal – The dorsal region in a fish refers to the surface running along the backbone of the fish.

Eggs – female reproductive material.

Embryo – An unhatched fish offspring in the process of development.

Endangered – An “endangered species” is a species which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as likely to become extinct.

Endemic – Present or usually prevalent in a population of geographical area at all times.

Estuarine – Brackish water. This type of water is usually found in a bay or the mouth of a river where fresh water and saltwater mix together or flow into one another.

Estuary – An estuary is the region where salt water and freshwater mix together.

Eutrophication – The process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life. This sudden explosion in plant life usually results in the depletion of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Export/exported – Goods or services sold to another country.

Extinct – The name of the condition of a species or population of a species which no longer exists.

Extrude – The act of pushing out of one’s body.

Facultative Catadromy - This term essentially means that a species seems to have the ability to choose whether or not they want to fully commit to a catadromous lifestyle.

Federal Trust - The term Federal Trust Species means migratory birds, threatened species, endangered species, interjurisdictional fish, marine mammals and other species of concern.”

Fishery – All the activities involved in catching a species of fish or group of species of fish.

Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – A FMP is a plan to achieve specified goals for a fishery. It includes data, analyses and management measures for a fishery.

Fish Way/Fish ladder – An apparatus that lets fish swim around a dam or a waterfall.

Fingerling – A juvenile fish.

Forage – A sought after food or prey item or species.

Fluvial – Relating to or living in a stream or river.

Fry – This term is reserved for newly hatched fish, fingerlings or fish that are less than a year old.

Gills – The respiratory organ of aquatic animals that breathes oxygen through water.

Harvest – The total number of poundage of fish caught and kept from an area over a period of time.

Herbivores - An animal that feeds exclusively on plants and plant material.

Hormones - Are molecules released by a group of cells in the body that influence the behavior of another group of cells in the body.

Hybridization – the mating of different species or sub species to create offspring that share the genetic material of both species. In many cases, hybrid offspring will not be able to naturally reproduce.

Hydrodynamic – Refers to the forces in or motions of liquids. If something is hydrodynamic, it can move through fluids or liquids easily.

Hydrologic cycle – The sequence of conditions through which water passes from vapor in the atmosphere through precipitation upon land or water surfaces and ultimately back into the atmosphere as a result of evaporation and transpiration.

In-stream flows – In stream flows are specific flow amounts protected in a regulation or law.

Incubation – The period of development for fish within the egg before they hatch.

Indigenous – This term refers to originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country or native to a specific area.

Inexhaustible – Incapable of being depleted or unable to be used up. Plentiful enough not to give out.

Inundated – To cover with water, especially floodwaters. To overwhelm as if with a flood.

Invertebrate – An invertebrate is an animal lacking a backbone like a crustacean or a mollusk.

Iteroparous – The ability to reproduce or breed multiple times during its lifetime or a multiple spawning life history strategy.

Interjurisdictoional – The coordinated management of a resource between multiple management jurisdictions.

Jurisdiction – The right power or authority to administer policy or manage natural resources such as fishery resources within a specified geographical boundary.

Kidney – Either of two bean shaped excretory organs that filters wastes from the blood and excrete them and urine.

Lacustrine – Relating to, formed in, living in or formed in lakes.

Landlocked – Enclosed or nearly enclosed by land.

Larvae/Larval Stage – This term is usually reserved for newly hatched fish that have not yet absorbed the entire yolk sac that they were born with. In many cases, larval fish still have to undergo additional changes before they resemble their adult life history stage.

Lemming – A small, short tailed rodent which lives in the Arctic or northern areas of North America, Europe and Asia.

Juvenile – A juvenile fish is a fish that has reached the point where it can now begin to feed itself and has fully developed scales and fins.

Macroinvertebrates – are organisms that live underwater in our streams and rivers which lack a backbone but can be seen by the naked eye.

Marine – Saltwater habitat.

Migrate – Movement of an organism or animal from one habitat to another.

Midge – A group of small, non-biting flies that have an aquatic larval stage and are often found near streams, lakes and marshes. These flies are famous for forming large swarms near water bodies.

Milt – Male reproductive material.

Mollusk – A group of freshwater and saltwater animals with no skeletons and usually one or two hard shells made of calcium carbonate. This group Includes oysters, clams, mussels, snails, conches, scallops, squids and octopi.

Moratorium – A legally authorized suspension of an activity.

Morphological – Relating to or concerned with the form and structure of organisms.

Multiple spawner – A “multiple spawner is a species of fish which reproduces more than one time in its lifetime.

Mysid – Any member of the order which includes opossum shrimp; especially of the genus mysis.

Natal – of or relating to birth or place of birth.

Nocturnal – Active at night; done occurring or coming out at night.

Ocean-type- An anadromous fish that shows no indication on its scales or other hard parts of an extended fresh water residence early in its life.

Omnivirous – An animal or person that feeds on both plants and animals.

Opportunistic –Taking immediate advantage of any circumstance of possible benefit.

Overfished – A fishery is considered overfished if the stock size is too small to withstand the current fishing levels or if the stock is being fished at a rate where the number of remaining adults will not be able to sustain the population.

Overfishing – This condition of fishing an area excessively to exhaust the supply of usable fish in certain waters.

Overwintering – This term refers to the process of passing through or waiting out a winter season at a particular location.

Parasitic – A condition in which one organism feeds on or within another organism to sustain itself.

Pelagic- Inhabiting the upper layers of the open sea.

Piscivorous – This term refers to feeding primarily or only on fish as a food source.

Plankton/planktonic – This term refers to the small or microscopic organisms that drift or swim within the water column.

Poaching – The illegal shooting, trapping or taking of game or fish from public or private property.

Potamodromous – A fish that migrates only within fresh water. These migrations are normally associated with spawning.

Prolific – Producing abundant amounts of offspring.

Propagation – The breeding of plant or animal specimens by natural process from the parent stock.

Predation – The feeding of one animal upon another.

Predator/prey – An interaction between two organisms in which one of them acts as a predator that captures and feeds on the organism and serves as its food source or prey.

Post-spawning – The period of time immediately after fish reproduce or spawn.

Pre-spawning – The period of time before fish reproduce or spawn.

Prey – The organism or animal being hunted.

Rare – Seldom occurring or found; uncommon.

Recreational Fishery – Harvesting fish for personal use, fun, and challenge. Recreational fishing does not include the sale of the catch. The term refers to and includes the fishery resources, fishermen, and businesses providing needed goods and services.

Redd - A redd is a nest of fish eggs.

Rearing – The term rearing refers to the place or habitat where fish grow and develop into adult fish.

Refugium – An area in which a population of organisms can survive through a period of unfavorable conditions.

Resident – A species that does not migrate and lives its entire life in fresh water.

Riffle – Is a shallow section of a stream or river with rapid current and a surface broken by gravel, rubble or boulders.

Riverine – Of or relating to a river; living within, or along the banks of a river.

Salters – A sea-run brook trout. Salters were a prized sport fish in the late 1800’s in New England.

School – A group of fish swimming together.

Sea-run – The act of ascending a river from the sea, especially to spawn as salmon or brook trout.

Semelparous – To Reproduce or breed only once in a lifetime. A single spawning life history strategy.

Spawn/Spawning - A term used to describe fish reproduction. Spawning refers to the actual extrusion of fish eggs from the female fish and milt from the male fish.

Species – A set of actually or potentially interbreeding organisms or a group of organisms that have a distinctive form; a group of organisms that share a common ancestor.

Species of concern – This is an informal term that commonly refers to a species that is declining or appears to be in need of conservation.

Spirogyra – Spirogyra is a type of filamentous green algae commonly found in fresh water habitats. It is also called water silk, mermaid’s tresses and blanket weed.

Sport fish – A sport fish is a species of fish that is sought after for sport and also does not sell his catch. The fish landed are for the angler’s personal use.

Stock – is a term referring to a sub-population of a species of fish.

Stocking – The Stocking of fish is a fish management tool that works by releasing fish that are raised in hatcheries into the wild.

Stratification – The state of having many layers.

Stream-type – A fish that rears for a year or more in a stream.

Temperate – Denoting a region or climate characterized by mild temperatures. A temperate climate is a mild climate that does not undergo extreme heat or extreme cold.

Terrestrial – In biology this term refers to organisms that live and grow on land.

Subsistence fishery – The taking of, fishing for or possession of fish, shellfish or other fishery resources by a resident of a state for subsistence use(these fish will serve as food for the individuals that capture them in the prescribed manners) with gillnet, seine, or other means. Subsistence fish are never sold for profit.

Thermocline – The region in a thermally stratified body of water which separates warmer surface water from cold deep water and in which temperature decreases rapidly with increasing depth.

Threatened – A ”threatened species” is defined as any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future.

Tunicates – Marine invertebrates of a group that includes the sea squirts and salps. They have a rubbery or hard outer coat and two siphons to draw water into and out of the body.

Turbid – This term refers to water that is cloudy, murky or has sediment suspended in solution.

Turgid – Swollen or distended, as from a fluid, bloated.

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia – A highly contagious and deadly fish virus that can infect numerous species of fresh water and salt water fish.

Watershed – An area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins or seas.

Young-of-the year - Those animals or fish that are born within the past year (Age 0 fish), from transformation to juvenile until January 1 of the Northern Hemisphere or July 1 in the Southern Hemisphere, which have not yet reached the age of one year (YOY).

Zooplankton – The animal constituent of plankton consisting mainly of small crustaceans and fish larvae.