The oceans harbour an ecosystem whose biomass1 is far larger than that of terrestrial biota. Approximately 300,000 organisms inhabit the oceans (Malakoff 1997); among them more than 20,000 are fish (O’Dor 2003). However, just a fraction of the known marine species has been scientifically named and taxonomically identified2 because of classification problems with the identity of the specimens. In fact, only some species’ names are well established scientifically and marine biota classification problems are well acknowledged among experts.3 The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)—the Agency in charge of managing the U.S. living marine resources—owns a database of biota in which information about organisms is rated with confidence limits on scientific reliability (Mickevich and Collette 2000). Estimates of the total number of marine living species vary between 500,000 and 10 million (Malakoff 2000). Microbes (such as bacteria and single celled protists/eukaryotes), whose species diversity is unknown, are excluded. New species, including corals, fish and plants are discovered during each new expedition in the underwater world. Small drifting planktonic organisms photosynthesize all the primary food and make up 99 percent of the 145 trillion tons of estimated marine biomass (O’Dor 2003). Although these microscopic factories account for almost all biomass and are the essential catalysts for all biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, the focus of this research is only on commercially valuable species—i.e. finfish and shellfish.