A List of Pelagic Fish

Updated July 20, 2017

As opposed to deep sea and reef fish, pelagic fish are fish that live near the surface of open waters. They swim in shallow fresh or salt bodies of water and humans sometimes seek them for consumption. There are several types of distinctly different pelagic fish living in open oceans and lakes.


The herring is a small pelagic fish found in the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There are more than 200 different types of herring, including Atlantic, wolf and blueback herring. They normally have silver scales and participate in long-distance migrations, travelling in schools for up to 185 miles.

Atlantic Mackerel

The Atlantic mackerel is a specific type of mackerel found in the Atlantic Ocean as well as several rivers. They travel in schools with Atlantic mackerel of similar sizes and ages. This is necessary for the fish to maintain identical swimming speed. The Atlantic mackerel grows up to 3.4 Kilogram and can live for as long as 20 years. Reaching sexual maturity within two years, they normally reproduce near the coast from spring to summer.

Round Sardinella

The sardinella fish is a small fish located in the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Mediterranean and Black seas. They prefer waters with temperatures less than 23.9 degrees Celsius. Round sardinella can grow up to 12 inches long and live up to seven years. They are usually coloured blue, green or silver in order to blend in with ocean waters. They reproduce close to the coast throughout the year.

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About the Author

Kay Santos is a freelance writer specializing in math and science. She holds Bachelor of Science degrees in physics and health science, both from Clemson University.