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April 26, 2022

Milkfish (also known as Chanos chanos or Bangus) is the national fish of the Philippines. It is one of the few fish species that can live in seawater and freshwater. Milkfishes are tough, sturdy, and adaptable fishes that swim in tropical offshore marine waters, along continental shelves and islands, and across the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Fun Demographic Facts About Milkfish

  • Milkfishes have cycloid scales, big eyes, and a sharp snout with a terminal mouth.
  • Milkfish can grow more than a meter in length and have a silvery hue throughout their body with blue and olive green tones on their backs.
  • Their body length varies between 50 cm and 180 cm, and they weigh between 4 and 14 kg.
  • Milkfish do not have teeth and are quite “bony.”

Fun Cultural Facts About Milkfish

  • Each year, Taiwan holds the milkfish festival and has a museum dedicated to milkfish on the island.
  • Indigenous Hawaiians use this milkfish—referring to it as Awa—in traditional recipes
  • The Philippines, Indonesia, and Taiwan’s aquaculture practices raise more than 1.1 million tons of milkfish yearly.
  • Bangus is the national fish of the Philippines.
  • In 1877, California’s attempt to introduce the milkfish into freshwater lakes and local ponds failed.

Fun Geographical Range and Habitat Facts About the Milkfish

  • Milkfish are endemic to regions in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
  • Adult milkfishes also thrive in freshwater lakes in Madagascar, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
  • Juveniles are spotted in freshwater lakes, atolls, and large coastal lagoons.


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