List of halal and kosher fish

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This is a list of fish considered halal according to the Shia Muslims in the Jafari jurisprudence as well as being kosher according to Jews as per the kashrut dietary laws in the halakha of rabbinic Judaism.

In the Jafari Muslim tradition, these fish are halal because they possess the appropriate characteristic of having true fish scales.[1][2]

In Judaism, in addition to requiring the presence of scales, kosher fish must also have fins. This seemingly redundant requirement unambiguously excludes finless sea creatures possessing features that might create confusion as to whether or not they have scales (such as prawns or shrimp). While not every fish that has fins will have scales, every true fish that has true fish scales by default also has fins.[3]

It is important to note that the scientific definition of scales does not include the shells of prawns and shrimp, which are in fact the exoskeleton ("outer skeleton") of these animals, the same as the shells of lobsters or crabs, just softer.

The Jewish definition of scales is akin to the scientific definition, but even stricter (see below). In some Islamic schools of thought where scales are also a trait required of halal fish, including the Jafari Shia, exoskeletons are not included as "scales". However, other Islamic schools of thought, both Sunni and Shia, have looser definitions of "scales" which include the exoskeleton of crustaceans, others yet include the softer exoskeletons of prawns but exclude the harder exoskeletons of lobsters.

While there is nothing specifically mentioned in Jewish halakha requiring kosher fish having an endoskeleton ("inner skeleton") and gills (as opposed to lungs), every true fish that has both scales and fins by default also possesses an endoskeleton and gills. Any sea creature that lacks gills and can only breathe oxygen from air through lungs, or has an exoskeleton instead of and endoskeleton[4]:343 , is by default not kosher because it cannot be a fish.

The list of fish on this page, therefore, coincides with those which possess the combination of endoskeleton, gills, fins, and scales.


According to the chok or divine decrees of the Torah and the Talmud, for a fish to be declared kosher, it must have scales and fins.[5] The definition of "scale" differs from the definitions presented in biology, in that the scales of a kosher fish must be visible to the eye, present in the adult form, and can be easily removed from the skin either by hand or scaling knife.[5] Thus, a grass carp, mirror carp, and salmon are kosher, whereas a shark, whose scales are microscopic, a sturgeon, whose scutes can not be easily removed without cutting them out of the body, and a swordfish, which loses all of its scales as an adult, are all not kosher.[5]

When a (kosher) fish is removed from the water, it is considered "slaughtered," and it is unnecessary to ritually kill it in the manner of kosher livestock. However, kosher law explicitly forbids the consumption of a fish while it is still alive.[5] Talmudic law proscribes against cooking fish together with meat, or fish with dairy for health reasons, though fish may be eaten together with meat in a meal if they are in separate dishes or courses.[5][6]



Shia Islam's regulation of fish in the Jaafari school of jurisprudence comes from several sahih hadiths, one of them is, as narrated by the fifth imam Muhammad al-Baqir:

Eat any fish that has scales, and do not eat what does not have scales.

— Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi, Vol.6, p. 219


In Sunni Islam, there are two general schools of thought. Most Sunni Muslim schools of jurisprudence (Shafi'i, Hanbali, and Maliki) hold as a general rule that all "sea game" (animals of the sea) are permissible to eat with a few minor exceptions.

Thus, for example, the traditional Laksa soup of Shafi'i Sunni Muslim majority Malaysia (which includes meats such as shrimp and squid with a soup base made from shrimp paste) is permisssble.

The combined total population of Muslims in all these Sunni Muslim schools of jurisprudence, however, are a minority among the worldwide population of Sunni Muslims.


In the Hanafi school of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence, to which the majority population of Sunni Muslims belong to, only "fish" (as opposed to all "sea game") are permissible, but not eels and hagfish (even though both eels and hagfish are also biologically fish).

Any other sea (or water) creatures which are not fish, therefore, are also haram (forbidden), whether they breathe oxygen from water through gills (such as prawns, shrimp, lobsters and crabs which are crustaceans) and especially if they breathe oxygen from air through lungs (such as sea turtles and sea snakes which are reptiles, dolphins and whales which are mammals, or semi-aquatic animals like penguins which are birds, saltwater crocodiles which are reptiles, seals which are mammals, and frogs which are amphibians).[7]

For Hanafi Sunni Muslims, therefore, laksa soup would be haram (prohibited).

List of permitted fishes


  1. ^ Common Halal and Non-Halal Sea Foods. Retrieved on 25th April 2015
  2. ^ Food & Drink - Permitted & Prohibited - Retrieved on 25th April 2015
  3. ^ ([ Source])
  4. ^ Margolese, Faranak (2005). Off the Derech: Why Observant Jews Leave Judaism : How to Respond to the Challenge. Createspace. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "All About Kosher Fish"
  6. ^ Fish with Meat or Dairy
  7. ^
    • "Sea Food in the Four Madhahib". Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
    • "Is Catfish Halal?". Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
    • "Is Shark Meat Halal?". Retrieved 2007-02-16. 

External links

  • Kosher and non kosher fish list from
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