Heat shock proteins are a family of highly conserved cellular proteins present in all organisms including fish. Fish represent an ideal model organism to understand the regulation and functional significance of heat shock proteins (Hsps). The mechanism regulating the expression of Hsp genes in fish have not been studied in detail. In this review, the function, genomic structure and environmental adaptation of the major fish Hsps were discussed. Future research evaluating the functional gcnomics of Hsps in fish will provide substantial insight into the physiological and ecological roles of these highly conserved proteins.