Thursday, August 6, 2009

Seafood Sobriquets: tastier names to meet demand

I was reading a Washington Post article today that referenced a report about the state of our commercial fisheries worldwide. As many of you know, they are not in very good shape and predictions abound about the total collapse of many commercial species populations in the next few decades.

The report cited the growth in demand for seafood and how that has caused commercial fishing to steadily migrate from inshore to progressively more open ocean and deeper water. To catch fish at deeper depths required more extensive commercial fishing techniques, like longlines, to meet catch requirements. Unfortunately, those techniques also increased the levels of bycatch.

On a somewhat comical note, it also inspired fishermen to rename certain species which had been discarded or ignored in the past, thereby making them more marketable. Here are a few cited in the article:
  • Slimehead became . . . . . . orange roughy
  • Patagonian toothfish became . . . . . . Chilean sea bass
  • Goosefish became . . . . . . monkfish
  • Catfish is becoming . . . . . . delacata
  • and Whore's eggs (urchin) became . . . . . . uni for the Japanese sushi market
As humorous as these name changes are, it also represents the desperate lengths that commercial fisheries are going to in meeting demand. And that's not so funny.

The one somewhat upbeat note that the report brought up was that over half of the commercial species could be saved from collapse if aggressive action is taken to better manage the fisheries. That includes regulating the size of the catch and better managing the impact of accidental bycatch.

BTW: Growing up in Southern California, I always chuckled over
Aquatic Hygenic Technician . . . . . . pool cleaner.

Read Washington Post article (membership required).

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