The emergence of DNA barcoding and metabarcoding opened new ways to study biological diversity, however, the completion of DNA barcode libraries is fundamental for such approaches to succeed. This dataset is a DNA barcode reference library (fragment of Cytochrome Oxydase I gene) for 2,190 specimens representing at least 540 species of shore fishes collected over 10 years at 154 sites across the four volcanic archipelagos of French Polynesia; the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas and Society Islands, a 5,000,000 km2 area. At present, 65% of the known shore fish species of these archipelagoes possess a DNA barcode associated with preserved, photographed, tissue sampled and cataloged specimens, and extensive collection locality data. This dataset represents one of the most comprehensive DNA barcoding efforts for a vertebrate fauna to date. Considering the challenges associated with the conservation of coral reef fishes and the difficulties of accurately identifying species using morphological characters, this publicly available library is expected to be helpful for both authorities and academics in various fields.