CAAB - Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota - is a continuously maintained and expanding 8-digit coding system for aquatic organisms in the Australian region maintained by CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research, Australia (CMAR). Initially developed to cover fishes and selected other organisms of research or commercial interest, it has more recently been expanded to provide more comprehensive coverage of a number of aquatic groups, as information is available. CAAB is used by a large and expanding number of governmental and industry groups for marine biology and fishery purposes and has replaced almost all other national and locally designed coding systems.

CAAB currently contains codes and taxonomic information for the following aquatic organisms in the Australian region:

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Interested persons can use this web site to do the following:

For the current version of the published Australian Standard Fish Names List (Australian Fish Names Standard AS SSA 5300-2007), refer to this product page on, or the searchable database version at

CAAB Codes for fishes (category 37) have previously been published as a printed list, as updated to December 1994 (see below). However, users should note that some species names in CAAB have changed since that report was compiled, and that this on-line version will contain the most recent information, as well as supplementary information (common names, organism type, taxon notes, family information, etc.) which was not included in the published report.

CAAB version 1 was developed by Peter Last and Graeme Morris of CSIRO Division of Fisheries over the period 1990-1995, with major responsibility for content (Fishes section) by Gordon Yearsley. This new, web-accessible version of CAAB, with upgraded and extended content (version 2.0) has been developed by Tony Rees, CSIRO Marine Research Data Centre, over the period 1998-1999, with additional input from Karen Gowlett-Holmes, CSIRO Marine Research.

The following persons are presently responsible for entering/maintaining CAAB content:

The CAAB database and web application are maintained by Tony Rees.

More detailed information regarding this and previous versions of CAAB is available here.

Previous information on the structure and content of CAAB version 1, as at end 1994, is contained in the following report:

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. and Morris, G.K. (1997). Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota (CAAB): an upgraded and expanded species coding system for Australian fisheries databases. CSIRO Marine Laboratories Report no. 224, available on request from Gordon Yearsley at the email address above, or write to Gordon Yearsley, CSIRO Marine Research, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia.
(NB: Sections of this report are now somewhat outdated, compared with the latest information in the CAAB database).

This www version of CAAB may be cited as follows:
Rees, A.J.J., Yearsley, G.K., Gowlett-Holmes, K. and Pogonoski, J. Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota (on-line version). CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, World Wide Web electronic publication, 1999 onwards. Available at:

CAAB website and version 2 database design by Tony Rees, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Data Centre

Photo credits: CMR staff (montage by Louise Bell).

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