Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Fish By Any Other Name Still Smells Like a Fish

Do Fish Names Encourage Fishy Business?
"Rockfish" - Striped Bass

Order a rockfish at a restaurant in Maryland, and you'll likely get a striped bass. Place the same order in California, and you could end up with a vermilion rockfish, a Pacific Ocean perch or one of dozens of other fish species on your plate.

This jumble of names is perfectly legal. But it's confusing to diners — and it can hamper efforts to combat illegal fishing and seafood fraud, says the ocean conservation group Oceana.
Pacific "Rockfish"

Under current Food and Drug Administration rules, a single fish species can go by multiple names from the time it's caught to the time it ends up on your plate. Conversely, lots of different fish legally can be sold under a single name.


For example, that "grouper" on a menu could be one of 64 different species. It could be a fish known by the common name sand perch (scientific name: Diplectrum formosum), which is plentiful. Or it could be a goliath grouper, a critically endangered species. The FDA says all can be sold under the acceptable market name "grouper."
Sand Perch?

Oceana wants the entire supply chain — from boat to plate — to ditch the FDA's list of "acceptable market names" for seafood. Instead, it wants the FDA to require that a species' Latin scientific name or common name be used in all cases.
I understand the effort, but given the wide variety of fish in commerce (thousands of species, compared to tens for mammals and birds), and the relative ignorance of the their qualities and tastes by both the consumer and the retail supply chain, I suspect it's doomed to failure.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Good Witches" ready for your Rule 5 pleasure at The Other McCain.

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