Sydney Harbour has a very rich fish fauna. Nearly 600 species live in it, enter it, or are known from historic records.

Number of species (August 2018) = 596

This figure can be put into perspective when compared with 540 species recorded from the Mediterranean Sea (Helfman, Collette & Facey (2009) and 276 from UK coastal waters to a depth of 200m (Crimmen pers.comm.).

The following list of fishes has mostly been extracted from the Australian Museum Ichthyology Database. It represents species for which the Australian Museum Fish Collection holds a specimen. It is not a definitive list but does cover the majority of species currently known to live in (or have swum into) the harbour.

Eighty two species of fishes were originally described from in and around Sydney. Of these, 49 are still considered valid species, the remainder are treated as junior synonyms. Twenty six of the 49 valid species are endemic to Australian waters. Only a single species, the Sydney Scorpionfish, is currently known only from inside Sydney Harbour.

As the fish fauna of Sydney Harbour continues to be investigated, additional species that represent new distributional records and new species will be added to this list. The description of the Sydney Scorpionfish by Motomura in 2004 highlights the fact that there is still much to learn about Sydney's wonderful harbour.


  1. Helfman, G.S, Collette, B.B., Facey, D.E. and B.W. Bowen. 2009. The diversity of fishes: biology, evolution and ecology. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester. Pp. 720.
  2. Stead, D.G., 1963. Sharks and rays of Australian seas. Angus and Robertson, Sydney. Pp. 211.

Fishes of Sydney Harbour

398 Fact Sheets in this section

Collection information