Fish Without Fins and Scales List

Fish Without Fins and Scales List - What’s On the List?

Fish come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. However, when it comes to dietary laws regarding seafood consumption, there’s one category that stands out – fish without fins and scales list. This group encompasses a specific set of aquatic creatures that do not meet the traditional definition of what constitutes a “fish”.

What is Considered a Fish With Scales and Fins?

In order for a sea creature to be considered a kosher fish, it must have both fins and scales. Fins allow the fish to steer and maneuver through the water. Scales protect the fish’s body from cuts, parasites and improve hydrodynamic movement. Most fish fall under this category, including:

  • Bass
  • Cod
  • Flounder
  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Tuna

These types of fish live their whole lives underwater, have gills to breathe and are covered in bony scales. They meet the criteria for fish with scales and fins.

Unique Group of Scaleless Sea Creatures

Fish that lack both fins and scales constitute a specific group that stands apart when it comes to dietary laws regarding seafood consumption. Unlike bass, cod, salmon, and other true “fish”, these aquatic animals missing key anatomical features do not qualify for kosher status according to traditional interpretations.

Shellfish like shrimp, oysters, and clams make up a major part of this fins and scales-deficient category. Also on the list are squid, jellyfish, sea cucumbers and other sea creatures that drift along ocean currents without the ability to steer or have protective outer coatings. Though once considered forbidden fare, many of these fish without fins and scales list have gained acceptance through the ages as tastes have expanded globally.

Fish Without Fins and Scales List

On the other hand, there are certain aquatic animals that look like fish but do not posses scales or fins. Without these characteristics, these sea creatures do not qualify as “fish” in the traditional sense. Here’s a breakdown of common fish without fins and scales:


One of the most popular kinds of shellfish, shrimp lack scales and fins. As crustaceans, they have an exoskeleton and are closely related to lobsters and crabs. True shrimp are also known as prawns. Popular varieties include pink, whiteleg and rock shrimp.


Clams are bivalve mollusks that live on the bottom of coastal waters buried in sand or mud. As shellfish, clams lack scales and fins and instead have two hinged shells made of calcium carbonate. Common varieties are littlenecks, cherrystones and geoducks.


Another type of bivalve mollusk, oysters also make the fish without scales list. Grown in breaded clusters known as reefs, there are over a hundred species of this shellfish. Popular kinds are Eastern, Pacific and European flat oysters.


Squid are a soft-bodied cephalopod mollusk found in oceans around the world. As invertebrates, squid do not have scales or fins. Instead, they propel themselves swiftly through the water by expelling water from their siphon or funnel. Calamari and fried squid are popular dishes made from this seafood.


Jellyfish make up their own unique phylum called Cnidaria. As gelatinous marine invertebrates, they completely lack scales, fins or even a true brain. Instead, they drift through the ocean using jet propulsion and capturing food with stinging tentacles. While not typically thought of as food themselves, some Asian cuisines do consume jellyfish.

Sea Cucumbers

Despite their name, sea cucumbers are not plants but rather echinoderms like starfish and sea urchins. As bottom-dwelling animals, sea cucumbers lack fins and scales and use tiny tube feet to shuffle along ocean floors. Although not appetizing to most Westerners, sea cucumbers are considered a delicacy in many Asian cuisines.

The aquatic animals on the above list share the common characteristics of lacking both fins and scales. So according to traditional interpretations, they do not constitute “fish”. Yet many of these creatures from the waters have become popular menu items and sources of seafood nonetheless.

Fins, Scales and More:

What exactly constitutes a “fish” when it comes to dietary law? Surprisingly, merely living underwater and having gills does not qualify. Traditional precedent also requires species to have both fins and scales. Fins allow steering through currents while scales protect the exterior. Yet shellfish like shrimp, oysters and clams have neither. Furthermore, other marine invertebrates – including squid, jellyfish and sea cucumbers – also lack these appendages or outer coatings. Such fish without fins and scales list were once forbidden but have slowly gained acceptance at tables everywhere. As palates expand and new flavors emerge, the list of scale-less seafood enjoying culinary popularity continues expanding.

Are All Fish Without Scales Considered Unclean?

Fish Without Fins and Scales List - What’s On the List?

Strict biblical adherents still avoid the consumption of fish without scales today. However, many modern Christians do not view shellfish and other scale-less sea creatures as prohibited. Much of this shift has to do with the New Testament, which declares all foods clean in Mark 7:19.

Ultimately, whether to eat fish without scales comes down to personal choice and conscience. Both fins and scales work as identifiers of a “true fish”, but their absence no longer necessarily denotes uncleanliness. So shellfish, squid, jellyfish and more now show up on menus around the globe.

The Fish Without Fins and Scales List Keeps Growing

As tastes expand and oceanic exploration continues, the list of fish without fins and scales sampled for food keeps growing. What once constituted forbidden fare now makes up trendy dishes and delicacies around the world.

So next time you enjoy shrimp, scallops or calamari, remember that these fish without fins and scales list have found culinary acceptance through the ages. Their original biblical classification has eased, allowing more aquatic variety to join menus everywhere.



About Author

Carla is a prolific tech and business blogger who has been actively writing online since 2015. Eager to leave the corporate world, Carla began her popular blog "Beast Hunger". With tech rapidly transforming every industry, Carla is dedicated through her writing and consulting to helping companies of all sizes prepare for the future.

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