Animals in Northeast Pacific

Updated: June 26, 2021
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Below you can find a complete list of Northeast Pacific Ocean animals. We currently track 182 animals in Northeast Pacific and are adding more every day!

Apart from the Aleutian Islands curving away from Alaska, the Northeast Pacific is basically devoid of landmasses everywhere from North America to Japan and Russia. In between these two outliers of the continents of Asia and North America, the Pacific Ocean is a cold, blustery seascape far off the world’s major trade routes and traversed mostly by vessels taking advantage of the bounteous harvests of the frigid national fisheries in the region.

Even for these vessels, the action is mostly along the continental shelf rather than out into the oceanic reaches. Part of the harvest comes in the form of shellfish, such as famous Alaskan King Crabs, although more ordinary scaled fishes are also taken in large quantities. The area is also home to a large number of the world’s whales. Combine whale watching with the unique and spectacular coastal scenery, and one finds that cruises into these northern waters are far more popular than one might otherwise imagine.

Obviously, there is no National Animal Of The Northeast Pacific since there is no single national authority to pick one. If there were to be such a creature, however, it would probably be one of the instantly recognizable species of whale.

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals In The Northeast Pacific Ocean

Much of the wildlife of the Northern Pacific consists of migratory fish species, so it is not really possible to designate a unique spot where one is most likely to find the sort of view that is sought. Along the spectacular and thinly-settled coastline of Alaska, one can find a full selection of viewing opportunities.

For those interested in mammalian inhabitants of the Northeast Pacific, most of the bays and harbors all along the west coast of North America provide food, shelter, and safety for species such as Sea Otters, Sea Lions, and Seals.

As part of the largest ocean on the planet, it only makes sense that the Northeast Pacific is also home to some of the largest wildlife species in the world as well. The mighty and majestic Humpback Whales of the area are famous for their vast bulk, yet the largest of the dolphins– the Killer Whale or Orca – as well as the giant Pacific Squid and Octopus are also titans among the fellow members of their species.

The Most Dangerous Animals In The Northeast Pacific Ocean

While there are plenty of dangerous creatures in the sea, they are generally not much of a risk unless you invade their underwater domain. In that case, they might mistake you for some new type of food source.

Sharks are generally a risk anywhere they are found in the world. Due to their mass, any close-up encounter with a member of the whale family also has the potential of being dangerous. Overall, however, the most dangerous type of wildlife in the Northeast Pacific is probably the Killer Whale or Orca.

This is, after all, a very large sea creature and one that is carnivorous. They may not be malignantly disposed towards humans, but they are also not the happy-go-lucky creatures in the wild that they are at Sea World.

Endangered Animals In The Northeast Pacific Ocean

Over so large a region of the planet, there are many endangered species in the Northeast Pacific region. The North Pacific Right Whale is among those considered to be most endangered. In the past, it was of less concern since it was typically grouped with the Right Whale species of the Atlantic and Southern Pacific but is now classified as its own unique species.

Approximately 20 different sharks are listed as being of concern, as well as a number of sea turtle species.

There is increasing concern about the over-harvesting of many of the Pacific’s most well-known fish species. Crab populations are under pressure as are such fish as the Alaskan Pollock, which in turn came under pressure as stocks of Atlantic Cod collapsed. This forced fishermen to look for alternatives that were similar in taste and color to the well-known Cod. The various members of the Salmon family are getting much attention due both to overfishing and breeding ground destruction due to drought conditions on the western half of North America.

Naturally, there are also wildlife species that have gone fully extinct or are in very immediate danger of becoming extinct. Probably the most widely recognized member of extinct Pacific species is the Japanese Sea Lion, which was once seen in huge numbers.

Northeast Pacific Ocean Animals

Alaskan Pollock

It's one of the most commonly eaten fish in the world

Albacore Tuna

The albacore is a very fast swimmer


The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!


Amberjack can grow up to 200 pounds


November 12th is celebrated as National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day


There are 70 different species!


The anglerfish has a glowing lure on its head to attract unsuspecting prey

Baleen Whale

“Sings” a whale song during breeding season.


Closely related to crabs and lobsters!


Can grow to nearly 2 meters long!

Barreleye Fish (Barrel Eye)

A barreleye fish's eyes can rotate in their head to look for prey.


Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Marlin

Every black marlin is born as a female.

Blanket Octopus

Females can weigh up to 40,000 times more than their partners.


One of the ugliest creatures in existence!

Blue Dragon Sea Slug

They inflict a painful, venomous sting

Blue-Ringed Octopus

The blue-ringed octopus produces some of the deadliest poison in the world

Blue Shark

Blue sharks can have up to 135 pups at a time.

Blue Whale

The largest animal on Earth

Bluefin Tuna

The bluefin is one of the largest fish in the world

Bonito Fish

May eat squid or other small invertebrate ocean life

Bonnethead Shark

Bonnetheads are the only hammerhead sharks that use their pectoral fins to swim.

Bottlenose Dolphin

Stays in groups from 15 to 2,000 in number!'

Box Jellyfish

Venomous marine animals


Can release a toxin from its skin

Bull Shark

Unpredictable and aggressive temperament!

Butterfly Fish

There are more than 100 different species!


Also called ghost shark

Chinook Salmon

The Chinook salmon undertakes a long migration for the spawning season


Chitons are closely related to snails, oysters, and mussels because of their shared phylum


Also known as the anemonefish!

Cobia Fish

It has teeth not only in its jaws but in its tongue and the roof of its mouth


Cockles live quite long; their lifespan usually ranges from 5 to 10 years in the wild.

Coconut Crab 

The largest terrestrial arthropod in the world


Codfish are carnivorous and eat other fish, including young codfish.

Conger Eel

The European Conger ( Conger conger) can weigh as much as an adult human!

Cookiecutter Shark

The cookiecutter shark takes its name because it leaves a cookie-shaped bite hole in its prey.


There are more than 6000 species of coral in the world's oceans.


There are 93 different crab groups

Crappie Fish

The crappie is one of the most popular freshwater fish in North America.


Found throughout the world's oceans!


Damselfish belong to the family Pomacentridae


Can reach speeds of up to 25 mph!

Drum Fish

The drum fish makes a croaking sound with its swimming bladder!

Dusky Dolphin

Communicates using whistles, squeaks and clicks!

Eagle Ray

Majestic underwater bird like fish


Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!


Its system can’t metabolize wax esters, which can lead to unpleasantness for diners.

False Killer Whale

The false killer whale looks like a cross between a dolphin and orca!


Has the largest teeth compared to body size of any known fish!

Fin Whale

Found throughout ocean waters worldwide!


Respire through the gills on their heads!


A flat fish found in the Atlantic and Pacific!


There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Fish

Can glide in the air for hundreds of feet

Football Fish

The football fish is named after its unusual round or oblong shape


Found inhabiting tropical islands and coasts!


The frogfish can change colors, but it takes several weeks to do so

Fur Seal

Found only in the Northern Hemisphere!

Garden Eel

Garden eel colonies are made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals.

Ghost Crab

Their eyestalks, which are sometimes horned, can swivel 360 degrees

Giant Isopod

Giant isopods are the largest group of isopods in the world


The goshawk is a popular choice among European falconers

Great Hammerhead Shark

Great hammerhead sharks have a 360 view because their eyes are situated on the ends of their mallet-like heads.

Great White Shark

Can grow to more than 8 meters long!

Grey Reef Shark

One of the most common shark species!


Their whole bodies are edible

Gulper Eel 

Gulper eels have a similar lifespan to humans and can live up to 85 years old. However, their age depends on their habitat and the availability of food.


Can use slime to suffocate marine predators or escape capture


The word "halibut" is comes from haly meaning "holy" and butte meaning flat fish due to its popularity on Catholic holy days.

Hammerhead Shark

Found in coastal waters around the world!

Harbor Seal

Harbor seals can dive as deep as 1400 feet

Hardhead Catfish

The hardhead catfish has a sharp spine near its fin to inject venom

Hermit Crab

There are over 500 different species!


People enjoy the taste of the oily fish in many different ways including pickled, smoked, salted, dried and fermented.

Horseshoe Crab

Changed little in over 500 million years!

Humboldt Squid

The Humboldt squid can change colors to communicate

Humpback Whale

There are thought to be 80,000 left in the wild!

Immortal Jellyfish

Excellent hitchhiker on long-trip cargo ships


There are an estimated 30 million species!


Have tentacles around their mouths!

Keta Salmon

During spawning the look of the male changes. Among other things, he grows a beak called a kype that bears fangs.

Killer Whale

Typically consumes over 200 kg of food a day!

King Crab

Can have a leg span of nearly 2 meters!

King Salmon

Largest of the Pacific salmon


The krill is perhaps the most important animal in the marine ecosystem!


Lancetfish live at depths up to 6,500 feet below sea level

Leopard Shark

Leopard Sharks have teeth with three points.

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

Though it’s a huge animal, the lifespan of the lion’s mane jellyfish is only a year.


Have been known to reach 100 years old!


The lumpfish have sticky suction cups on their fins

Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish)

It's called the rabbit of the ocean because it multiplies so quickly.

Man of War Jellyfish

Named for an 18th century warship

Manta Ray

Can grow up to 9m wide!

Megamouth Shark

Swims with its mouth open to capture prey


The mojarra's protruding mouth allows it to sift along the seabed for food

Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish)

The ocean sunfish is the biggest bony fish in the world

Moon Jellyfish

Moon Jellies are bioluminescent, so they glow in the dark! They can also de-age!

Moray Eel

Sometimes, groupers invite moray eels to help them hunt!


They walk on land


Nematodes range in size from 1/10 of an inch to 28 feet long

Neptune Grouper

The largest recorded specimen ever caught was 17" long

Northern Fur Seal

Dense underfur means they don’t need blubber to stay warm


They get toxins from their prey to use it against predators.

Ocean Perch

As a scorpionfish, the ocean perch has spines along its back!

Ocean Whitefish

Common around Southern California


There are around 300 different species!


They live in deep water as far as 2,600 feet below the water’s surface.


Opah are brightly colored, with red-orange fins and a silvery body.


Can process up to 10 litres of water an hour!

Pacific Sleeper Shark

In 2015, a Pacific Sleeper Shark was filmed living underneath an active volcano near the Solomon Islands. This shark is able to survive in waters with very high temperatures and acidity!


The parrotfish can change from female to male at some point in its life.

Pink Salmon

The smallest of the North American salmon


The male pipefish has the ability to carry fertilized eggs with him

Pollock Fish

Pollock is a nutritious fish, generally readily available for human consumption, and more sustainable and affordable than other whitefish species like hake or haddock.

Pompano Fish

They are bottom-feeders


The Porcupinefish secrete a potent neurotoxin known as tetrodotoxin; this poison can kill both people and predators.


Closely related to crabs and lobsters!


The second most poisonous creature in the world!

Pygmy Shark

Pygmy sharks underbelly glows to attract prey that swims beneath it.


They float with the current.

Reef Shark

Grey reef sharks can give birth without males


These fish can grow up to three feet long!


Fast billfish with a sail-like dorsal fin


Returns upstream every year to spawn

Salmon Shark

Salmon sharks are related to Great Whites.

Sand Dollar

Sand Dollar skeletons make popular collection items for seashell collectors.

Sand Tiger Shark

The sand tiger is the shark most commonly seen in aquariums.


Schools of sardines can be miles long and are often visible from an airplane


Sawfish teeth keep growing as the fish gets older

Scorpion Fish

There are more than 200 recognised species!

Sea Anemone

Creatures have characteristics of both animal and plant

Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner

Sea Lion

It's flippers allow it to walk on the land

Sea Slug

All sea slugs have both male and female sex organs

Sea Squirt

There are more than 3,000 known species!

Sea Turtle

Always return to the same beach to lay eggs!

Sea Urchin

Can live for up to 200 years!


Some gulls are capable of using tools


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!


There are 30 different species worldwide!

Sei Whale

This whale is one of the fastest of the cetaceans


No shark species has any bones in their bodies

Shortfin Mako Shark

Shortfin Mako sharks can jump 20 feet above the water!”


There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Silky Shark

Has an extremely acute sense of hearing

Sixgill shark

The sixgill shark has six pairs of gills instead of the normal five

Skipjack Tuna

The skipjack is the most commonly caught tuna in the world

Sleeper Shark

The Greenland shark is one of the longest living vertebrates in the world.


There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snow Crab

Snow crabs communicate with each other by waving or drumming their pincers.

Sockeye Salmon

Called "red salmon" because their skin turns bright red to dirty red during spawning season

Sperm Whale

Each tooth weighs 1kg!

Spinner Shark

Can have up to 20 babies

Spiny Dogfish

Found in ocean waters worldwide!


There are more than 9,000 known species!


Some species are known to have 10 arms!


Has 2 stomachs to aid digestion!


It's stinger is razor-sharp or serrated!


Large species can swallow whole salmon


Lose their scales and teeth as adults


Found around shallow coral reefs!


Its genus dates back to the Cretaceous period – 113 million years ago

Telescope Fish

Swallows food, much of it larger than them, whole

Thresher Shark

Thresher Sharks have a distinctive, thresher-like tail.


Can be heard out of water


Nests on tropical islands and cliffs!


The tuna has a sleek body that enables it to swim quickly through the water


Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.


Viperfish have a bioluminescent spine on their dorsal fin.

Whale Shark

The largest species of fish in the world!

White Shark

White Sharks live in all of the world's oceans.

Wolf Eel

Wolf Eels may become tame and interact with human in areas where people frequently dive.


There are more than 500 different species!

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

Sea snakes spend approximately 90% of their lives under water.

Yellowfin Tuna

The yellowfin forms schools with other tuna species

Yeti Crab

The yeti crab has hairy arms, which collect bacteria to feed on

Zebra Shark

Can get to be 30 years old in the wild!

Northeast Pacific Ocean Animals List

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Animals in Northeast Pacific FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in the North Pacific Ocean?

Wildlife in the North Pacific is very diverse. It ranges from the very tiny Krill all the way up to the massive whales that feed upon these tiny creatures as their primary food source. In between are such well-known creatures as the Dolphin, Squid, Octopus, and various eerie-looking members of the Ray family.

Crab and shellfish are found along the coastlines. Commercial fish such as Pollock and Tuna are found, as is the Salmon during the proper time of the year before they head back inland to spawn.

All of this bounty supports many other life forms such as fish-eating birds like Sea Gulls and Eagles. Aquatic mammals also feast upon the fish stocks of the region.

What fish live in the North Pacific Ocean?

In addition to those listed in the categories above, the Northeast Pacific is home to many other types of fish. Among the most well-known ones are Halibut, two types of Sole (Dover and English), smaller versions of the more famous and larger Atlantic Cod, Sardines, Lingcod, Tuna, and Sable Fish, or Dark Cod.