Letter to the Editor

Fish names

San Luis ObispoFebruary 6, 2014 

The Jan. 29 editorial on fish made me laugh. When I was a kid growing up at Morro Bay in the 1950s, we caught plenty of juvenile rockfish off the piers. We called them red snappers.

At the fish market, tourists would demand red snapper. Sometimes, tourists would say they didn’t like rockfish, but they loved red snapper. The workers in the market would turn the rockfish fillets over, call it red snapper. The tourist would then purchase it.

Officially, there are 13 rockfish species legally identified as red snapper in California. In total, there are 59 varieties of rockfish common to California.

The editorial suggested “wild salmon” was somehow more desirable than “coho” salmon. Coho (silver) salmon are wild fish. They are currently prohibited from ocean harvest in California. Chinook (King) salmon are seasonally legal to fish.

The so-called mislabeling of fish, as in the snapper example, may in reality just be because consumers demand certain products by generic names.

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