The milkfish, (Chanos chanos), is an important food fish in Southeast Asia and is the sole living species in the family Chanidae. (About seven extinct species in five additional genera have been reported.)
Milkfish have a generally symmetrical and streamlined appearance, with a sizable forked caudal fin. They can grow to 1.7 m but are most often about 1 meter in length. They have no teeth and generally feed on algae and invertebrates.
They occur in the Indian Ocean and across the Pacific Ocean, tending to school around coasts and islands with reefs. The young fry live at sea for two to three weeks and then migrate to mangrove swamps, estuaries, and sometimes lakes and return to sea to mature sexually and reproduce.
The fry are collected from rivers and raised in ponds where they grow very quickly and are then are sold either fresh, frozen, canned, or smoked.
The milkfish is a national symbol of the Philippines, where it is called bangus. Because milkfish is notorious for being much bonier than other food fish in the country, deboned milkfish, or "boneless bangus," has become popular in stores and markets.