Schooling vs. shoaling — what’s the difference?
Schooling fish swim in the same direction in a coordinated manner. Think of those tight swirls of fish such as sardines that we often see on the TV where thousands of fish appear to move as one. This tight group swims in such a manner to gain protection from predators, to swim with greater efficiency and to enhance their ability to find and exploit food resources. Shoaling fish stay together for social reasons, although some of the advantages described above will certainly apply as a result of these fish staying together. These fish will swim together but there isn’t as much coordination and the group appears more loosely packed.