67 seafood and fish names in French

If you’re travelling to France and love seafood, you need to know the names of commonly eaten seafood, crustaceans and fish names in French.

By Annie André ⦿ updated January 10, 2024  
Common Fish names in French + aquarium sea life in French
Common Fish names in French + aquarium sea life in French

Whether ordering the fish of the day at a French restaurant or shopping at a fishmonger or fish market in France, knowing the different names of fish in French can come in handy.

Here are the French and English names of the most commonly eaten fish, seafood and crustaceans— Plus other seafood-related vocabulary.

How this list of seafood and fish names in French and English is organized.

I’ve broken the French seafood names on this list into three parts—

  1. 41 fish names in French
  2. 26+ crustacean and shellfish names in French.
  3.  I’ve also included over 40 useful French seafood cooking terms as well as places relating to fish in French, such as the fishmonger, the fish market, etc. 

41 French fish names you might find on a French restaurant menu

French chef holding red fish

Before we jump into the list, here’s how to say the general terms Fish and Seafood in French

Fish: Poisson = /pwa-Sonh/

Be careful when pronouncing this word. Pronounce it with the “S” sound, not the “Z” sound. If you pronounce it with the “Z” sound, you’re actually saying poison and not the French word for fish. 

Seafood: Les Fruits de Mer = /Lay-Froo-We-duh-Mare/

Seafood in French is called “les fruits de Mer,” which literally means the fruits of the sea. 

The following French fish names are listed in alphabetic order by the English name of the fish. 

  1. Anchovy: Les Anchois
  2. Arctic char: L’omble-chevalier
  3. Barracuda: La Barracuda
  4. Carp: La Carpe
  5. Catfish: Le Poisson-chat
  6. Cod: Le Cabillaud
  7. Salted cod: La Morue
  8. Conger: Le Congre /  anguille de mer
  9. Eel: L’Anguille
  10. Flounder: La Plie
  11. Grouper: Le Mérou
  12. Haddock: L’aiglefin
  13. Hake: Le Colin (Merlu, Lieu noir)
  14. Halibut: Le Flétan
  15. Herring: Le Hareng
  16. John dory: Saint Pierre  (considered one of the ugliest fish in the world)
  17. Lemon Sole: La Limande-sole
  18. Mackerel: Le Maquereau
  19. Monkfish: La Lotte / La Lotte de mer
  20. Needlefish: L’aiguillette
  21. Perch: La Perche
  22. Pike Perch: Le Sandre
  23. Plaice: Le Carrelet
  24. Skate: La Raie (often seen as ailes de raie on menus-ray wings)
  25. Red Mullet: Le Rouget / Rouget barbet
  26. Salmon: Le Saumon
  27. Sardine: La Sardine
  28. Scorpionfish: La Rascasse (essential ingredient in fish soups and bouillabaisse.)
  29. Sea Bass: Le Bar / Loup de mer
  30. Sea Bream: La Dorade/Daurade royale
  31. Sea Perch: Le Loup
  32. Sea Pike: Le Brochet de mer
  33. Shark: Le Requin
  34. Sole: La Sole
  35. Squid: Le Calamar
  36. Swordfish: L’epadon
  37. Trout: La Truite
  38. Tuna: Le Thon
  39. Turbot: Le Turbot
  40. Weever: La Vivie
  41. Whiting: Le Merlan

Shell Fish and crustaceans: Les Coquillages et Crustacés 

Fruits de mer: Seafood platter

Crustaceans: Les crustacées (m)

Shellfish (the edible ones): Les coquillages comestibles (m)

Mind your genders:

  • la coquillage is a seashell. The kind you collect at the beach.
  • Le coquillage is the shellfish you can eat.

Seafood shells are called two different things in French. 

1) Shell of crustaceans: La carapace

For example A Crab shell is La carapace de la crabe.

2) Shell of Shellfish: La coquille

For example: An Oyster shell is la coquille de l’huitre

Crustacean: Les crustacées (m) 

 Crustaceans include commonly eaten seafood such as shrimp, crab, lobster, and crayfish and usually have segmented, split limbs or appendages. 

  1. Crab: Un Crabe
  2. Crayfish : Une écrevisse
  3. Edible crab / rock crab : Un Tourteau
  4. Prawns: Les Gambas
  5. Lobster: Un Homard
  6. Scampi: Une Langoustine
  7. Spider crab: Une araignée de mer ou crabe-araignée
  8. Shrimp: Une Crevette
  9. Spiny Lobster / Rock Lobster: Une Langouste

Shellfish: Les Coquillages (f)

Mollusks: Un Mollusque

Shellfish are soft-bodied invertebrates called mollusks that have hard shells. The ones we eat usually come from the sea: clams, mussels, scallops, and oysters, among others. Technically, squids and octopi are a type of cephalopod mollusks, but they don’t have shells.

  1. Abalone: Un Ormeau
  2. Clams : Les Palourdes
  3. Cockle: Une Coque
  4. Crepidula: Le Berlingot de mer / La Crecpudule
  5. Oysters: Les huîtres 
  6. Mussels: Les Moules
  7. Rasor clam: Les Couteaux
  8. Scallop : La Coquille Saint-Jacques
  9. Sea snail: Le Bigorneau
  10. Sea Urchin: Un Oursin
  11. Shrimp/prawn: Les revettes
  12. Whelk: Le Bulot

Mollusks without shells

  1. Cuttlefish: Les Seiches
  2. Calamari: Les Calamars
  3. Octopus: Le Pieuvre/ Le Poulpe
  4. Squid: Les Encornets


Frog legs are considered fish

What are frogs doing on this list of seafood and shellfish?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that frog meat is considered fish, and so is turtle and alligator meat. 

The natural habitat of frogs is water-based, and frog legs generally have the texture of chicken but some think it tastes like fish.

According to legend, French monks had frogs classified as fish, so they could enjoy eating otherwise forbidden food during Lent.  

Frog legs are actually referred to as frog thighs in French.

  • Frog thighs: Les cuisses de grenouille

Extra Fish and Seafood Vocabulary: 

Marseille fish market female fishmonger

Places where you can find fish

From fishing and fishmongers to restaurants and fish markets, here are the many places to find fish.

  1. Fishmonger / fish seller : Un poissonnier (m), Une poissonnière (f)
  2. A Fish shop store: Une poissonnerie
  3. Fish market: Un Marchand de poissons
  4. Seafood display: Étalage de fruits de Mer
  5. Seafood bar: Un Bar a fruit de Mer
  6. Seafood restaurant: Restaurant de fruits de mer
  7. Oyster bar: Le Bar à Huîtres
  8. Fisherman : Un pêcheur
  9. Fishing: Pêcher 
  10. Fishery: Pêcherie

You might be interested in reading Pocket dictionary: 200+ types of French shop names in France, businesses & services too

French Cooking terms

  1. Raw: Cru
  2. Cooked: Cuit
  3. Seared rare (as in seared ahi-tuna): Mi-cuit
  4. Smoked: Fumée
  5. Frozen: Surgelé
  6. Defrost: faites décongeler 
  7. Fresh: Frais 
  8. In paper: En papillote (wrapped or placed in a bag made of parchment paper before being baked in an oven)
  9. Grilled: Grillé
  10. Roasted: Rôti 
  11. Poached: Poché 
  12. Pan fried: à la poêle
  13. Steamed: à la vapeur
  14. In a casserole: dans une casserole
  15. Fishbone:Une arête (de poison)
  16. Deboned: Désosser 
  17. Peel and devein shrimp: Décortiquer et déveiner des crevettes
  18. Fish recipe: Une Recette poisson. 

French fish dishes and Seafood plates

  1. A Seafood platter: un plateau de fruits de Mer
  2. A Seafood pizza: Une Pizza aux fruits de mer.
  3. Mussels and fries: Moules Frites 
  4. Fish head soup: Soupe aux têtes de poissons
  5. Smoked Salmon: Le saumon fumé
  6. Steamed king crab legs: Les Pattes de crabe royal à la vapeur
  7. Pureed Salt cod and potatoes dish: La brandade de morue
  8. Pan fired filet of sole dredged in flour and cooked in butter: La sole meunière
  9. A kind creamy paté made from tuna: Rillettes de Thon
  10. A type of seafood meatloaf: Terrine de Poisson 

Fish and Seafood tools

Fish scaler: scale remover: Ecailleur a Poisson

Fish poacher to cook fish: poissonnière (the same name as a female fishmonger-who sells fish)

Fish Spatula: Pelle à poisson

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a 'petite commission' at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my links. It helps me buy more wine and cheese. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Related Articles you might like

Annie André

Annie André

About the author

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog annieandre.com for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.

We Should Be Friends

Subscribe to Receive the Latest Updates