Pompano Varieties of Fish - Alphabetical
This alphabetical list has two purposes, it allows fast access to particular fish for persons with slow connections, and it cantains a lot more names than the pictorial list.

The varieties listed here are either of wide culinary interest or marketed in Southern California. Primary names are consistent with names used in Southern California fish markets. If you want more fish, Fishbase (F2) lists over 29,000 varieties under over 218,000 common names.

  • Anchovy - [Engraulidae family]
    A family of very small fish that swim in large schools in temperate seas worldwide.
  • Barracuda - [Sphyraenus species]
    This very elongated fish is a fearsome predator with strong jaws and sharp teeth
  • Bangus - Philippine for Milkfish.
  • Basa - See Vietnamese Catfish.
  • BASS
    "Bass" is a popular name applied to many fish that aren't really bass.

    • Black Bass - [Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu, Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides]
      Not actually bass a variety of Sunfish.
    • Sand Bass - [Serranidae (Sea Basses) Paralabrax sp.]
      Several sea bass varieties: Barred, Spotted & Golden
    • Striped Bass - [Striped Sea-bass, Morone saxatilis]
      A sea bass found mainly in river estuaries.
    • White Perch - [Morone americana]
      A Bass native to the North Atlantic coast.
  • Belt Fish - [Ribbon Fish, Cutlass Fish, Largehead Hairtail, Scabbard Fish, Trichiurus lepturus]
    This ribbon shaped fish grows to over 7 feet long
  • Blue Runner - see Jacks - Blue Runner.
  • Bonita - see Skipjack Tuna.
  • Bream - not a useful term - generally describes a moderately deep bodied fish of moderate size but is applied to many completely unrelated fish from a number of families.
  • Bumper - [Pacific Bumper, Yellowtail Bumper, Chloroscombrus orqueta | Atlantic Bumper, Chloroscombrus chrysurus]
    A relative of the scads
  • Butterfish - [family Stromateidae]
    A family of very deep bodied fish. Most fish called Butterfish aren't and most actual Butterfish are called something else.
  • Carp - [Koi (Japanese), family Cyprinidae]
    A family of fresh water river, lake and pond fish, some of which can grow to 100 pounds.
    • Bighead - [Aristichthys nobilis]
    • Black Carp - [Mylopharyngodon piceus]
      Highly commercial in China, experimental in the U.S..
    • Carp Bream - [Abramis brama]
      Highly commercial fish from Central Europe to Middle Asa.
    • Common Carp - [Koi, Cyprinus carpio carpio]
      Best known carp worldwide.
    • Crucian Carp - [Carassius carassius]
      A popular European carp.
    • Grass Carp - [Ctenopharyngodon idella]
      A large fish often used to control aquatic weeds.
    • Silver Carp - [Hypophthalmichthys molitrix]
      Asian carp now worldwide for food and for cleaning algae.
  • Catfish - [order Siluriformes]
    There are some 2200 species of catfish, mostly from Central and South America. Some catfish are ocean fish but most live in fresh water.
    • Channel Catfish - [Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus]
      Most American farmed catfish is Channel Cat.
    • Vietnamese Catfish - [Basa Pangasius bocourti, Tra P. hypophthalmus]
      Vietnam ships frozen fillets in volume, mainly Tra labeled Basa.
    • Walking Catfish - [Clarias batrachus - also C. gareipinus (North African) and hybrids]
      This air breathing catfish quickly becomes a pest in subtropical areas.
  • China Sole - see Vietnamese Catfish.
  • Chilean Sea Bass - A made-up name for Patagonian Toothfish which is not a bass.
  • COD & Haddock
    There are many fish called "Cod" that aren't cod at all.
  • Crokers & Drums - Corvina - [family Sciaenidae]
    Croakers and Drums get their name from sounds they make underwater. Corvina is the Spanish name for many fish in this family.
    • Freshwater Drum - [Aplodinotus grunniens]
      A large fish found in large non-freezing lakes and rivers in North and Central America
    • Yellow Croaker
      This is confusing. There's two fish called Yellow Croaker in Southern California, often sold in the same market.
    • Corvina - [Yellowfish, Yellow Croaker, Larimichthys polyactis]
      See the entry for Yellow Croaker above for the confusion surrounding this fish.
    • Yellow Croaker - [Yellowfish, Pseudosciaena manchurica]
      See the entry for Yellow Croaker above for the confusion surrounding this fish.
  • Cutlass Fish - see Belt Fish.
  • Dace - [Dart, Dare, Leuciscus leuciscus]
    A common fish in fast moving fresh (or sometimes brackish) waters
  • Dollar Fish - see Pompano.
  • Dolphin (fish) - see Mahi-Mahi.
  • Dover Sole - There are two fish marketed as Dover Sole - one is to be avoided.
  • Drum - see Croakers & Drums.
  • Flounders - [families: Achiropsettidae (southern flounders), Bothidae (lefteye flounders), Paralichthyidae (large-tooth flounders), Pleuronectidae (righteye flounders)]
    Flounders include a number of families of fish that have evolved to lie flat on the bottom.
    • Dover Sole - [Slime Fish, Microstomus pacificus]
      Not the "real" Dover Sole Dover Sole .
    • Pacific Halibut - [Hippoglossus stenolepis]
      A large righteye flounder growing to 500 pounds.
    • Petrale Sole - [Eopsetta jordani]
      The premier eating flounder off the U.S. Pacific coast.
    • Rex Sole - [Glyptocephalus zachirus]
      Small flounder caught North East Pacific - good eating.
    • Sanddab - [Citharichthys sordidus (pacific), C. xanthostigma (long fin)]
      Small flounder caught North East Pacific - good eating.
    • Starry Flounder - [Platichthys stellatus]
      A very common fish from Santa Barbara California to Arctic Alaska.

Fugu - [Pufferfish, Blowfish, Boh-guh (korea), Family Tetraodontidae]
A family of fish that puff up to several times their normal size when threatened, common in tropical seas, particularly near reefs. Fugu is considered a great delicacy in Japan (and Korea) where it is extremely expensive and served raw in highly decorative arrangements. It's prepared only by trained and licensed fugu chefs - because the eyes and internals are toxic and one fish can kill 30 people.

Non-toxic fugu can be farm raised because they don't make the poison themselves, they have to consume certain bacteria to do it. Non-toxic fugu has generated little interest - without the risk of death it's just another fish. Puffers have long been eaten in Florida but are now banned taken from some waters due to a different bacterial toxin. Fugu is not considered threatened but is not generally marketed in North America.

Fusiliers - [family Caesionidae]
Fusiliers are generally non-migratory reef fish found in tropical seas.

Redbelly Yellowtail Fusilier - [Caesio cuning ]
Fish This Indo-West Pacific fish can grow to nearly 24 inches but is generally marketed much smaller. The pictured fish was 12-1/2 inches and weighed 14 ounces. A popular eating fish in the Philippines it can be found in fish markets catering to that community. Prep & Cooking Details.

Twinstripe Fusilier - [Pterocaesio marri]
Fish This Indo-West Pacific fish can grow to nearly 14 inches but is generally marketed smaller. The pictured fish was 10 inches and weighed 8 ounces. A popular eating fish in the Philippines, it can be found in fish markets catering to that community.

Apparently Twinstripe Fusiliers vary in color. The ones available at a Philippine market in Los Angeles are very red and marked "Redtail Fusilier", but Fishbase and other sources list no such name. Prep & Cooking Details.

Golden Thread - [Golden threadfin bream, Pla Sai Dang (thai) Nemipterus virgatus]
Golden Thread This small fish is commercially important in the East and South China Seas and is common in Asian markets in California. The photo shows a typical individual 10-1/2 inches long and weighing 9 ounces. The name comes from a long yellow thread extending from the top tip of the tail but this will be missing by time the fish is in the market Prep & Cooking Details.

Graylings - [Genus Thymallus]
These fish belong to the Salmon family along with Trout and Whitefish. They inhabit fresh waters in the far north and are easy to tell from trout by their large scales and a very large and showy dorsal fin. The longest and most commercialized (wild and farmed) is the Arctic Grayling (T. arcticus arcticus) which may grow to 30 inches and over 8 pounds. The grayling proper (T. thymallus,) is a European species that may grow to 24 inches and 15 pounds.

  • Hairtail - see Belt Fish.
  • Halibut - see Flounders, righteye

    Herring - [Family Clupea, various genera and species]
    A family of generally small oily fish, Herring can grow to over 18 inches and 1.5 pounds but is generally caught and harvested much smaller. See also Sardine

    Atlantic Herring - [Clupea harengus harengus]
    Herring The most abundant and economically important herring, this round bodied fish can grow to nearly 18 inches and 1.5 pounds but is most often harvest in smaller sizes. The photo example was probably about 8-1/2 inches when it had it's head on, but it's now pickled. Sorry, but that's as close as I could get to an Atlantic herring right now.

    Atlantic herring is commonly sold smoked or pickled but is eaten raw in Holland and fresh in Northern Europe, particularly Poland. Whitebait are immature herrings and generally eaten whole. Sild are small immature herrings canned like Sardines in Norway. Marine ecologists classify Atlantic herring as a sustainable harvest.

    Herring Pickled, Canned, Kippered & Dried
    Herring Herring is an oily fish that preserves well in various ways, and all these ways are exploited. The photo shows two varieties of pickled herring from Poland, a major herring eating country. Yummm! More on Preserved Herring

    Toli Shad - [Chinese Herring, Tenualosa toli]
    Shad A highly commercial Indo-West Pacific herring found from the Bay of Bengal to the South China Sea and the Java Sea, these fish can grow to 23 inches but the specimen in the photo was 9-3/4 inches and weighed 5 ounces. Toli Shad is marketed fresh and dried and is not considered threatened. Prep & Cooking Details

    Tunsoy - [Genus Sardinella various species and Dussumieria acuta]
    Herring Tunsoy is the Philippine name for various Indo-Pacific herring. The photo example was rehydrated from a package of salted and dried herring obtained from a Philippine grocery. These fish are about 5-1/2 inches long and weigh about 1/2 ounce (after a 5 hour soak). Prep & Cooking Details

    Idiot Fish - See Rock Fish - Idiot.

    Jacks - [Genus Caranx, various species]
    A family of deep bodied fish related to Pompanos and Scads.

    Blue Runner - [Bluestripe Jack, Hardtail Jack, Caranx crysos]
    Blue Runner Belonging to the same family as Pompanos, Blue Runners are found on both sides of the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean, generally near reefs, They can grow to 27 inches and 11 pounds, but the photo specimen, caught wild off Alabama, was 13 inches and weighed 1# 2 oz. Prep & Cooking Details

    Crevalle Jack - [Jackfish Caranx caninus (Pacific) Caranx hippos (Atlantic)]
    Jackfish The Pacific and Atlantic fish may actually be the same species. The Pacific, is found from Southern Californa to Peru and may grow to almost 40 inches and almost 40 pounds but the photo specimen is 11 inches and 11 ounces. Atlantic fish are found from Nova Scotia to Uruguay and have grown to over 48 inches and 70 pounds. Prep & Cooking Details

    Yellowtail Amberjack - [California Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi]
    Yellowtail This large jack is found in warm waters all around the Pacific, the Pacific Islands and the South Atlantic below the Equator. This is a prize game fish off the coast of California and can grow to over 8 feet long and over 200 pounds but the photo specimen was 27 inches and 7.44 pounds. Prep & Cooking Details

    Lingcod - [Ophiodon elongatus]
    The only representative of genus Ophiodon, the Lingcod is not a cod. It's found on the Pacific coast of North America from Ensenada, Mexico to the Gulf of Alaska and is considered an excellent eating fish. Lingcod can grow to nearly 60 inches and 130 pounds.

  • Mackerel
    Mackerels are a large family (Scombridae) of meaty, oily and strongly flavored fish.
    • Atlantic Mackerel - [Scomber scombrus]
      The presumed mackerel in most mackerel recipes - medium flavor.
    • Chub Mackerel - see Japanese Mackerel
    • Hasa Hasa (Phillipine) - [Short Mackerel (fb) Rastrelliger brachysoma]
      Fish seen marketed as "Hasa Hasa" in Los Angeles are actually Bigeye Scad.
    • Indian Mackerel - [Rastrelliger kanagurta ]
      A small highly commercial Indo-West Pacific mackerel.
    • Japanese Mackerel - [Blue Mackerel, Pacific Mackerel, Chub Mackerel, Aji (Japanese), Scomber japonicus]
      A fairly strong flavored mackerel found worldwide.
    • King Mackerel - [Scomberomorus cavalla]
      Largest of the fish called mackerel, grows to100 pounds and up to 6 feet.
    • Mackerel Pike - [Pacific Saury, Sanma (japanese), Cololabis saira]
      A small thin fish from the North Pacific.
    • Pacific Sierra - [Sierra, Spanish Mackerel, Scomberemorus sierra]
      A good eating mackerel popular raw in sushi bars as Spanish Mackerel.
    • Smoked Mackerel
      Mackerel is an excellent candidate for smoking.

    Mahi-Mahi - [Dolphin, Dolphin-fish, Dorado Coryphaena hippurus]
    This large fish is unrelated to the sea mammal also called "Dolphin" so the Hawaiian name Mahi-Mahi is now widely used to avoid confusion. They are a short lived fish and are usually caught at about 20 pounds, though they can grow to 90 pounds. The flesh is firm and generally cut into steaks and is often used as a kosher substitute for swordfish,

    Milkfish - [Bangus (Philippine), Chanos chanos]
    Fish This Indo-Pacific warm water fish is an important food fish in India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, particularly the Philippines. Milkfish are extremely suspicious, strong and very fast so are difficult to catch in the wild but are a major farm fish in many tropical counties. While they can grow to almost 6 feet and over 30 pounds, farmed milkfish is generally marketed at 18 inches and smaller The fish in the photo was 18 inches and 2-1/4 pounds. The milkfish is durable, having survived the Cretaceous extinction that did in the dinosaurs, the amonites and perhaps 50% of other marine species. Prep & Cooking Details

    Monkfish - [Angler, Lophius americanus (North America), Lophius piscatorius (Europe)]
    Monkfish is mostly a huge ugly inedible head with a small tail sticking out the back side of it. This explains why you'll never see a whole monkfish in the fish market - only the tail is sold. The American Monkfish can grow to 47 inches and 57 pounds, the European to 78 inches and 127 pounds but these figures are meaningless since most of the fish is inedible. Monkfish is not kosher. The European Monkfish is considered heavily overfished though not yet on the official endangered lists.
    Prep & Cooking Details

    Moonfish - [Mexican Moonfish, Selene orstedii]
    Fish Related to Pompanos, this fish is found on the East Pacific coast from Baja California to Columbia in South America. They can grow to 13 inches long but the ones available commercially here are about 10 inches and weigh about 9 ounces. Not listed as threatened.

    Mullet - [Family Mugilidae]
    A fairly large family of salt water fish, Mullets have always been very popular in the Mediterranean area and costal Europe but is little used in North America. Confusingly, the best know "mullet", the Red Mullet, is not a mullet at all but a Goatfish.

    Grey Mullet - [Flathead Mullet, Mugil cephalus]
    Mullet Found world wide except in the Caribbean, this fish can grow to 47 inches and 26 pounds but the specimen in the photo is 15 inches and 1-1/4 pounds. They are caught wild and farmed and are not considered threatened. They are not often seen U.S. stores but are a very important commercial fish in many parts of the world - look for them in Asian groceries. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Orange Roughy - [Hoplostethus atlanticus]
    A fish caught in extremely deep water, mainly off New Zealand. The fishery started in 1979 when gear was made available that could locate and catch them at such depth. They are extremely long lived (to 150 years) slow breeding fish and even at current reduced rates the fishery is probably not sustainable. Rated "Do Not Eat" by marine environmentalists. Average market size is about 2-1/4 pounds and they are so ugly they're always sold as fillets. The flesh is mild, almost shellfish like and has been compard to sole.

    Patagonian Toothfish - [Chilean Sea Bass, Merluza Negra (spanish), Mero (japan) Dissostichus eleginoides]
    A large fish (up to 250 pounds) living at great depths in the southern oceans from Uruguay to the Antarctic Circle. It has very white flesh with a high fat content but rather little flavor. A single large fish can sell for $1000 in Japan. Though marketed as "Chilean Sea Bass" in the U.S. it is not a bass at all nor is it specific to Chile. This fish is endangered by pirate fishing and it's slow rate of maturing.

    Perch [Genus Perca species]
    "Perch" is the prototype for Order Perciformes (Perch-like fishes) to which most of our familiar fish belong.

    White Perch is not a perch - see Bass - White Perch.

    Petrale Sole - see Flounders

    Pollock - [Theragra species (Alasakan, Norwegian), Pollachius species (true pollocks)]
    Fish The Alaskan Pollock [walleye pollock T. chalcogramma] is the largest fish harvest in the world at 3 million tons per year. Most is made into sirimi, artificial crab meat, and McDonald's fish sticks. Alaskan Pollock is in the same family (Gadidae) as Cod and is considered a sustainable catch by marine ecologists. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Pomfret - [Family Bramidae various genera and species]
    Fish Pomfret come in White (silver) and Gray. The photo is of a Silver Pomfret Pampus argenteus. The white is considered superior but the gray or (black pomfret is actually a pompano. Pomfrets have a diamond shape profile and run about a half pound in Asian groceries here in Los Angeles, though I understand they can get up to about a pound. Some species in the wild can get up to 30 inches. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Pomfret, Black - [C. Parastromateus niger]
    Fish Actually not a Pomfret but a Pompano (the two families look a lot alike) but a very good eating fish anyway. Prep & Cooking Details.

  • Pompanos - [Genus Trachinotus, Parastromateus and others]
    Deep bodied ocean fish of family Carangidae (Jacks and Pompanos).
    • Black Pomfret - [C. Parastromateus niger]
      Actually not a Pomfret but a Pompano.
    • Pompano - [Trachinotus blochii (Golden Pompano, Asian Pompano), Trachinotus carolinus (Florida Pompano, Common Pompano)]
      A highly preferred eating fish.
  • Pony Fish - [Leiognathus equulus]
    Fish This tropical Indo-Pacific fish is found from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific Islands and as far south as the north coast of Australia. The fish gets its name from its strange extensible mouth which looks like a pony's nose when extended.

    Pony Fish can grow to 11 inches but the photo specimen was 9-1/2 inches and weighed 9 oz, caught wild off Thailand. Living near river mouths and in mangrove areas they are both farmed and caught wild and sold both fresh and dried. They are not considered threatened. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Porgy - [family Sparidae]
    Various deep bodied fish that subsist mainly by crushing shellfish. Familiar on the U.S. east coast are Pagrus pagrus, caught mostly off New England and Sheepshead Porgy caught south of the Chesapeake Bay. Most familiar in Europe is the Red Porgy or Red Sea Bream. Porgy is not well known on the U.S. West Coast because the Pacific Porgy is rare of Southern California, becoming common off the coast of Mexico.

    Squirefish - [Pink Snapper, Chrysophrys auratus]
    fish A fish often sold in the U.S. as "Snapper" from New Zealand, this Porgy is found of the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. A distinctly separate population is found from the Philippines and Indonesia to China, Taiwan, and Japan. Farming this fish is in the experimental stages so all market fish are currently wild. The pictured specimen was 14 inches long and weighed 1 pound 6 ounces. The Squirefish is not considered threatened. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Pufferfish - see FUGU.

    Rabbit Fish - [Streaked spinefoot (FDA), Java Rabbitfish, Siganus javus]
    Fish Found in tropic seas from the Persian Gulf to the South Pacific, the Java Rabbitfish lives on algae. It reproduces quickly and is not listed as endangered. It can grow to 20 inches but is generally marketed at 10 to 15 inches, roughly 12 oz to 2 pounds. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Rex Sole - see Flounders.

  • Ribbon Fish - see Belt Fish.
  • Rock Cod, Red - see Vermillion Rockfish.

    Rock Cod (true) - [Lotella rhacina]
    Members of the cod family (Gadidae) living mainly off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand.

    Rockfish, Scorpionfish - [Pacific Rockfish, family Scorpaenidae, family Sebastidae]
    Some biologists lump all these fish under Scorpaenidae (Scorpionfishes) and some assign a number of genera to Sebastidae, a family not recognized at all by the first group. They are mostly venomous (poisoned spines) ranging from extremely to not much. Fortunately those off the Pacific coast of California fall in the "not much" range.

    Popularly, rockfish are called names like "Sculpin" and "Rock Cod" but none are members of those families. They are popular eating fish ranging from mid-Baja California to Kodiak Island Alaska, though each species has a more limited range.

    Idiot Fish - [Shortspine Thornyhead, Sebastolobus alascanus]
    Fish A variety of Scorpion Fish particularly adapted to the "oxygen minimum" layer of the ocean where most fish can not thrive. It lives in the North Pacific, some as far south as the Mexican border but mostly Northern California, Washington State, Canada and Russia. The individual in the photo was 18-1/2" long and weighed 2.69#.

    Living under very suboptimal conditions the Idiot Fish has a slow propagation rate and is regulated to control overfishing, consequently it's not common in the markets. Of course it's strange spiny appearance is sort of off-putting for many people anyway, which is just as it should be because there will be more left for me. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Vermillion Rockfish - [Red Rock Cod, Sebastes miniatus]
    Fish One of the many varieties of deep water rockfish caught all along the Pacific coast from Baja to Vancouver Island. They can grow to 30 inches and 15 pounds but the individual in the photo is normal market size at 17 inches and 3 pounds. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Sablefish - [Black Cod, Anoplopoma fimbria]
    Fish This ugly fish is currently the darling of the fancy restaurant chefs under the name "black cod". Sablefish are found off the North Pacific coast in deep sandy water, ranging from mid Baja California all the way around to mid China though it's scarce south of Los Angeles and Korea. The one in the photo is 23 inches and weighed a couple ounces under 3 pounds.

    Sablefish farming is now being developed in Canada to the intense distress of the wild catch industry. The Sablefish fishery is highly regulated in both the U.S. and Canada to assure a sustainable harvest. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Salay Salay - Philippine - a number of small deep bodied Scad varieties - see Yellowstripe Scad Alepes melanoptera, Blackfin Scad Alepes melanoptera, Herring Scad Alepes vari, Shrimp Scad Alepes djedaba,

    SALMON - [Family Salmonidae, Genus Oncorhynchus (Pacific) and Salmo (Atlantic) species]
    Fish Salmon are large seagoing Trout. Actually all Trout are Salmonidae but we've broken out those not called Salmon to a Trout heading for clarity, Salmon live most of their lives in the deep oceans but return to the river of their birth to spawn - and then die. Why they die I do not know, other fish of the same genus, even seagoing ones, survive spawning (so are classed as Trout). Atlantic salmon have a high mortality at spawning but some survive.

    Salmon Details

    Sand Dab - See Flounders.

    Sandfish - [Sailfin Sandfish, Arctoscopus japonicus]
    Fish This fish is found in sandy-muddy bottom areas of the Asian side of the North Pacific. In Japan these fish are cultured in captivity, then released for the fishery. They grow to as long as 11 inches and 7 ounces. The photo specimen was by far the largest from a tray of frozen fish purchased from a Korean grocery and was 10 inches long and just over 4 oz. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Sardine - [Herring family Clupeidae]
    Sardines There are many varieties of Sardine, all members of the Herring Family, and each variety is likely to be known by a number of local names. Larger fish may be sold fresh but many millions are canned every year, packed in water, oil, mustard sauce and tomato sauce, particularly in Canada, Southeast Asia and Morocco (the largest producer).

    My preference is for Canadian, followed by Southeast Asian and with Moroccan a distant third. The photo shows a short stubby variety from Thailand canned in tomato sauce.

    California Sardine - [South American Pilchard, Sardinops sagax]
    Sardine California is fortunate in having a good supply of these sardines sold fresh, but they are also found along both Pacific coasts, in the Indian Ocean and on the Atlantic side of South Africa. The photo specimens are about 7 inches long and weigh about 2 ounces each. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Saury, Pacific Saury - see Mackerel Pike.

    Sild - see Herring.

  • Scabbard Fish - see Belt Fish.
  • Scad - [family Carangidae] When you see Scad, think of "mackerel", even though they aren't related. Scad belong to the same family as the mild and delectable Pompanos, but they resemble mackerel in a similar robust flavor, but without the oil.

    Mackerel Scad - [Round Scad, Decapterus macarellus]
    Fish This fish is not related to Mackerel, but can be treated similarly except when the Mackerel's oiliness is important (smoking, pickling). The specimen in the photo was 15 inches long and weighed 1# 3oz. These fish have largish scales, but only up at the head end. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Round Scad - a group of mackerel shaped scads, all of the genus Decapterus, including Mackerel Scad (D. macarellus), Japanese Scad (D. maruadsi), Shortfin Scad (D. macrosoma), Round Scad (D. punctatus) and Indian Scad (D. russelli).

    Shortfin Scad - [Round Scad, Decapterus macrosoma]
    Scad This Indo-Pacific scad is also found in the East Pacific from the coast of Baja California to Northern Peru. They can grow to over 14 inches, but the ones popular here (photo - California wild caught) are about 6-1/2 inches and weigh 2 ounces. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Yellowstripe Scad - [Salay Salay, Alepes melanoptera]
    Fish One of a number of similar small deep bodied Scad called "Salay Salay" in the Philippines. These Indo-Pacific fish, found from the Persian Gulf to the Philippines, can reach 8 inches but are marketed here much smaller. The photo specimen is 5-1/2 inches long and weighs 1 ounce. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Yellowtail Scad - [Atule mate]
    Fish This Indo-Pacific fish is found from the east coast of Africa to Hawaii. The specimen in the photo was 11 inches and weighed 9 ounces. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Scorpionfish - see Rockfish.

    Sculpin - see Rockfish.

    Sea Bream - [family Sparidae (most), family Lethrinidae, others]
    A catch-all name for a number of deep bodied fish of various names that resemble fresh water bream. Most of them are Sparidae (Porgies) or Lethrinidae (Emperors) but other families are represented.

    Shark - [class Chondrichthyes subclass Elasmobranchii superorder Selachimorpha]
    Shark steaks Sharks are very different from other fish. When the modern fish (teleosts - bony fish) came on the scene they rapidly pushed their predecessors toward extinction. Under severe stress these fish back evolved some primitive features of their own predecessors. So successful was this adaption following era is called the "Age of Sharks".

    Sharks have much larger brains than modern fish, no bones but a skeleton of cartilage and their scales are formed like teeth rather than the removable flakes on modern fish (thus shark is not kosher). In the U.S. shark is generally marketed as thick steaks like these 1-1/2 inch thick thresher shark steaks from Costa Rica. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Skate - [family Rajidae]
    Skate These bottom dwelling fish are related to sharks but have pectoral fins so enlarged they are referred to as "wings" a characteristic they share with Rays. Like sharks skates have no bones but a skeleton of cartilage. Skate is generally sold as cuts from the wings and is prepared quite differently from other fish. Skate wing can be found in Asian fish markets or fish markets near fishing ports.

    Some skates are listed as endangered (Common Skate, Thornback and Roker) but it's impossible to tell in the market what skate they are selling. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Smelt - [family Osmeridae, several genera]
    Fish Small fish related to Salmon and found in both salt water and fresh (where they spawn in streams). Various species are native to Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the U.S. and Canada, some as far south as Southern California but most in northern waters. Smelt are also found along the coasts of Europe and the western Pacific. A variety native to the U.S. northeast coast was introduced to the U.S. Great Lakes in about 1918 and became an important catch there, but the population is currently in decline.

    Smelt form large schools and are harvested in both open waters and in spawning streams. They are generally marketed at 6 to 8 inches, most being frozen and bagged. Bright orange smelt roe is collected from fish caught in the spawning streams and sold to garnish sushi. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Snakehead - [Mudfish, Dalag (phil.), Snakehead murrel, Channa striata]
    Snakehead This is one of the most important food fish in Thailand, Vietnam and Malasia, both wild and farmed, and is also popular in the Philippines. Live snakehads are popular in Asia but are illegal in the U.S. (but Asians keep sneaking them in). They can grow to 40 inches (larger in Hawaii) and 6.6 pounds but the photo specimen was 17 inches and 1-1/2 pounds. A fresh water fish preferring muddy water, like the walking catifish it can survive extreme conditions and take off over land to exploit new ponds and rivers. Like the walking catfish It's a voracious predator but can survive in colder climates. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Snappers - [family Lutjanidae (Snappers)]

    Red Snapper
    Lots of fish are marketed under the name "Red Snapper", but some aren't even in the family Lutjanidae and some aren't even red. Listed here are some with a legitimate claim to the name.

    Crimson Snapper - [Lutjanus erythropterus]
    This is what an Australian would probably have in mind as a Red Snapper. This species inhabits the Indo-Pacific region and is both caught commercially and farmed. to 32 inches. Not considered threatened.

    Jordan's Snapper - [Lutjanus jordani]
    Mexico to Peru 23 inches Not considered threatened

    New Zealand Snapper - Pink Snapper - see Squirefish This fish often sold in the U.S. as "Snapper" from New Zealand is actually a Porgy.

    Northern Red Snapper - [Lutjanus campechanus]
    This popular fish is found in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Western Atlantic coast to Massachusetts but is rare above North Carolina. It can grow to 39 inches and 48 pounds. There have been reports of ciguatera poisoning from eating fish from tropical reef environments. The body of this fish is deeper than the Pacific Red Snapper and the face more tapered to a point. This fish is not considered threatened.

    Pacific Red Snapper - [Lutjanus peru]
    Fish These true Red Snappers are found from Mexico to Peru in the Eastern Pacific. They can get up to 37 inches long and up to almost 13 pounds but the market size example in the photo was 13 inches and weighed just over 1 pound. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Southern Red Snapper - [Lutjanus purpureus]
    Caribbean to northern Brazil 39 inches 22 pounds Not considered threatened.

    Sole - [Common sole, Solea solea]
    "Sole" without a qualifier means Common Sole, the Europen sole also known as "Dover Sole". See Dover Sole for a full explanation of the marketing subtrifuge created over this name. While there are other soles Common sole is most common and preferred when available. It's actually a worldwide fish, not just European, but is very rare on the Pacific coast of North and South America, As a substitute use Petrale Sole (actually a flounder).

    Sprats - [family Clupeidae (herring family) Spratus spratus]
    Fish This small fish is a little slimmer than the herring and is particularly important to the economies of Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

    Sprats are smoked, beheaded (to fit in the can better) and packed with sunflower seed oil and salt in 4" diameter by 1" high cans for the enjoyment of persons of taste. Definitely not for the baby spinach set, they go exceptionally well with ice cold vodka and strong Russian tea. Fortunately plenty are now exported to the U.S. and I have a good stock stashed away.

    Swordfish - [Xiphias gladius]
    Steaks A large, ferocious predatory fish that uses it's long sharp beak as a weapon to spear prey, which includes even Orcas, and to defend against Maco Sharks, the only predator big enough, fast enough and ferocious enough to take on a swordfish. They grow to 14 feet and over 1000 pounds. Swordfish are not considered an endangered species. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Tilapia - [Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus niloticus]
    Fish This fish native to the Nile can grow to 23 inches but is generally marketed here at about 12 inches and 1-1/4 pounds like the photo specimen, Tilapia was already being farm raised in Egypt probably over 4000 years ago. It has since been transported to fresh water rivers and lakes in many countries. Tolerant of water quality, fast growing, cheap to feed and tasty to eat, Tilapia is an ideal aquaculture fish for warmer climates and is produced in great quantity in Southern California and Arizona, but most still comes from Mexico and South America.. Prep & Cooking Details.

  • Tra - See Vietnamese Catfish.
  • Trout - [family Salmonidae Genus Salmo (Atlantic), Oncorhynchus (Pacific) and Salvelinus (Char and brook trout) species]
    Trout really belong under the Salmon heading, but salmon known as such are so important we've broken the two groups apart for clarity. Seagoing fish that return to the rivers to spawn and then die are classified as Salmon, those that survive are classified as Trout.

    For other members of the Salmon family, see Whitefish and Graylings.

    Rainbow Trout [Steelhead Trout, Oncorhynchs mykiss]
    Fish Steelhead was reclassified from Salmo to Oncorhynchs in 1989, so is now officially a Pacific Trout. All steelhead are hatched as Rainbow Trout. Some individuals remain rainbow trout all their lives but others, even from the same batch of eggs, only for one or two years, then lose their rainbow coloring and head out to sea. A year or more later they return to the river of their birth to spawn and regain their rainbow color. After spawning they turn silver gray again and head back out to sea.

    Steelhead can exceed 40 inches and 50 pounds but most are nearer 24 inches and 8 to 11 pounds. Rainbows can get quite large as well, but due to their smaller environment are generally between 12 and 18 inches long. The farm raised rainbow in the photo was 16 inches long and weighed a little over 1-3/4 pounds. Steelhead is considered threatened due to habitat destruction. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Steelhead - see Rainbow Trout.

    Smoked Trout
    Fish Trout is a very oily fish so is suitable for smoking. The hot smoked example in the photo was 11 inches long and weighted 9 ounces. Smoked trout can be eaten skin-on, unlike smoked Whitefish (heavy scales) or smoked Mackerel (tough skin).

    Tuna include the largest members of the Mackerel family. Most have scales only in a few places but that's enough to be kosher.

    Skipjack Tuna - [Bonita, Katsuwonus pelamis]
    Fish These small tuna can grow to over 40 inches and over 60 pounds but the one in the photo from my local market was about 3 pounds and 18 inches. Skipjack is found worldwide in tropical and warm-temperate seas but not in the Mediterranean. They are not an endangered species and are sold fresh, frozen and canned, with a small amount sold smoked and dried. Prep & Cooking Details.

    Whitebait - see Herring.

    Whitefish - [genus Coregonus C. clupeaformis. C. lavaretus (Europe) and other species]
    Fish Arctic and subarctic estuary, river and lake fish related to the salmon, whitefish can grow to about 30 inches and about 20 pounds but the one in the photo is 19 inches and probably weighed 2-1/2 pounds before cleaning and smoking. They are generally caught wild but are also farmed.

    Whitefish are often smoked but are also an important fresh food fish particularly in Russia, Canada and the U.S. Great Lakes area. The roe is also valued as a pretty good caviar.

    Yellow Corvina - [Yellowfish]

    Yellowfish - see Yellow Croaker and/or Corvina.

    Yellowtail - see Jacks.



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