The Western Australian Museum's Fish Collection comprises 175,000 specimens from 319 different families.
Fish specimens have been collected since 1896 – only five years after the Western Australian Museum (then Perth Museum) was established. A separate fish section was established in 1970.
From 1912 hand-written records of fish specimens have been kept, with some of the oldest documented specimens being a seadragon from Bunbury and a pygmy perch from the Vasse River, Busselton.
The collection has steadily increased since 1912, with most collection activity occurring in the last 35 years. Currently the fish section has a comprehensive collection that includes over 704 type specimens of which 347 are primary types.
Many of the fish specimens in the collection are from nearshore, shallow-water reef habitats and inshore trawl-caught specimens, but a growing number of deep-water species from beyond the continental shelf have been added to the collection in recent years.
Fish specimens are used for taxonomic research by scientists in Australia and overseas. Numerous specimens are regularly sent on loan around the world to fish specialists.