Slimehead and chips, please

Renaming fish makes them more palatable, but also depletes the world’s fisheries.  As the Washington Post reports, the popular orange roughy was once known as the “slimehead.”


  1. Hempenstein
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Yet one further indication that there are too many people on the planet, which is another thing you never hear the creationaries talk about.

  2. NewEnglandBob
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Hey, now wait a minute – I have an idea.

    Never mind the ‘endangered species’ act. What is needed is a new law that says once an edible species is in danger of extinction, its name will be mandated to change to something disgusting.

    We could even have scatological naming contests!

    • Soil Creep
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Like “Crappies”?

      • Barry
        Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Yes, I wholly agree. And do this not only for edible species but all endangered species. And in many cases it will not be necessary to think up new common names, but only to translate the scientific names back in to what they really mean in simple English. For example, just start calling the endangered Cryptoprocta ferox by what its name really means, the hidden asshole, and be done with it.

  3. JefFlyingV
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    …and the Chilean sea bass was the Patagonia tooth fish. I don’t know, I just never cared for orange roughy.
    I hate to to tell you what the Kiwi Fruit was originally called.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Wasn’t it Chinese gooseberry?

      • JefFlyingV
        Posted July 31, 2009 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Hempenstein, if you have a chance check the urban dictionary. Chinese gooseberry was the other name.

    • hempenstein
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      No could find. UD & Wikipedia only refer to CG & melonettes, which I don’t think is what you refer to.

      • articulett
        Posted July 31, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Monkey nads?

        Hamster butts?

  4. Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    It’s done not only to individual species, but to habitats. Prior to having nearly its whole surface covered over by high-rise hotels and associated establishments, Hog Island in the Bahamas was renamed Paradise Island.

    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      And Mosquito Island in the British Virgin Islands is called now called “Drake’s Anchorage”.

  5. KP
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    None will top the common name for Halichoeres bivittatus. Look it up.

    • Barry
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Oh, don’t make people look it up. The common name is: the slippery dick. I’m sure you can say that here and it wont be deleted. Because this is a science blog, and that really is the common name of this fish. But of course, the fish is slippery by virtue of a natural mucus coating; and not KY lubricant.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted July 31, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Meanwhile, somewhere in the bowels of Google a spike in the search of “Halichoeres bivittatus” was recorded today.

  6. SeanK
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Tuna should be renamed to ‘SwineSars’!

  7. Posted July 31, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Some time ago I went to one of these ‘eco-looky’ supermarkets (Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc.), and noticed that they sold Atlantic Salmon (all supermarkets do, but it really is very bad) as well as Orange Roughy. I told the fishmonger the reason why he should not offer the latter (overfished, very old before they spawn, going extinct), and his only reply was “Keep the customers happy, that’s the most important thing, right?” He didn’t mean it as a question, but in his profound ignorance about his own livelihood, he is just plain wrong on that one.

  8. Michael K Gray
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    At least Atheists are totally immune from attack on this point.
    Apparently our diet consists entirely of sacrificed babies with a little barbecue sauce.

    (BTW: I had a similar conversation at my fish shop when I saw Orange Roughy for sale.
    I told the manager that judging by the size of the specimens, they could well have been born during Queen Victoria’s reign.
    He seemed taken aback, but not for long, and came up with the tired old commercial justification.)

  9. MadScientist
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    Such a pity – if it were still called “slimehead” I might get an excellent frying fish for cheap.

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