FISH FACTS


Fish according to Cannon


A

Ahi Hawaiian name for Yellowfin tuna.

Anadromous Fish that swim upstream into freshwater rivers from the sea for breeding, such as shad and salmon.

Aquaculture The regulation and cultivation of various types of fish for human consumption. Fish farming utilizes scientific methods to insure maximum production and high quality, while keeping costs competitive with wild product. Most commercial freshwater trout, shrimp, salmon, and catfish consumed in the U.S. are farmed.


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B

Batter-dipped Sometimes referred to as batter-fried. Batter-dipped products have been coated in batter and then immersed in hot oil to secure the batter. These products are then usually frozen.

Belly burn Deterioration in the belly cavity due to enzyme action bisulfite (sodium bisulfite). Also called shrimp dip and shrimp powder. Used mostly by shrimp trawlers to prevent Mellanosis, or black spot.

Blast freezing Freezing method of circulating cold air over batched product placed in trays or racks. Continuous operations are available with rotating belts or spiral screens.

Bleeding Method in which fishermen remove blood from fish by cutting an artery. Large meaty fish like tuna are routinely bled before further processing. Skates and sharks are also bled to remove uric acid.

Block Frozen fish blocks are rectangular or other uniformly shaped masses of cohering fish fillets or a mixture of fillets and minced fish flesh, or entirely minced fish flesh. These blocks usually range in weight from 13 to 16 lbs. and are intended for further processing into fish sticks and portions. Larger blocks may be available that contain whole dressed fish for subsequent thawing, processing or resale.

Boned/Boneless Term used by packer to indicate that product has been processed to remove backbone and rib bones. Term used by packer to indicate that product has been processed to remove backbone and rib bones.

Breaded Product covered in liquid dip, breadcrumbs and seasonings. The breading forms a jacket within which the product cooks gently. Breading helps to retain moisture in the product during cooking, and also adds contrasting texture and flavor to the product.

Brine Freezing Freezing seafood by soaking in liquid brine. King crab or snow crab is often brine-frozen.

Brined Often referred to as "pickled" or "wet salted." The process of immersing a fish in a solution of food-grade salt and water for a period of time to allow the fish tissue to absorb a quantity of the salt.

Butterfly Fillet Fish is cut along both sides with the two pieces remaining joined by the skin of the back. Technically, two pieces held together with the belly skin is called a kited fillet.


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C

Candling A process by which fillets are placed on a back lighted, translucent table that reveals the presence of parasites in the flesh.

Catch Weight Some species with large fillets, like Tuna, are sold as catch-weight fillets. For example, if you order 10-pound fillets, what you will receive may range from 9 1/2 to 11 pounds.

Caviar Sturgeon eggs, which have been preserved in salt. Caviar comes in many grades and types and must be transported and held fresh at temperatures between 25F and 30F. (See Roe)

Center Cut The center third of a fillet

Center Section A larger section (thicker than a steak) taken from the center third of the body

Chill-killed A process employed in the harvest of aqua cultured species whereby the temperature of the pond is lowered until the fish die

Chill-packed A packing method in which fish are packed in cartons with gel packs and no ice

Chilled The result of a process in which fish are thoroughly cooled to a temperature approaching that of melting ice

Chunks Cross-sections of large dressed fish, having a cross-section of backbone as the only bone. They are similar to a beef or pork roast and are ready for cooking

Clipper Denotes high-quality swordfish or mahi mahi, usually caught and frozen at sea

Cluster A product form consisting of a group of legs and a claw from one side of a crab, with the connecting shoulder area still attached. Also known as a ‘section’

Cold-Smoked Fish smoked at low temperatures (around 80¼ F) for 18 hours to several days, producing a moist, delicately flavored product

Collar The bones of a fish just behind the gills; they support the pectoral fins. The collar is waste when a fish is steaked or filleted. Most headless fish are sold with the collar on because it protects the fish

Counts The number of shrimp per pound in a given package; i.e., 16/20 means each net-weight pound consists of 16 to 20 shrimp. The larger the count, the smaller the shrimp. Scallop meats are also sold by a count per pound

Cross-contamination The tainting that can occur when cooked seafood's come into direct or indirect contact with raw seafood's and other raw foods or contaminated surfaces and utensils

Crustaceans Shrimp, crabs, crawfish and lobsters

Cryogenic Freezing An accelerated form of blast freezing in which products are exposed to sprays of liquid nitrogen or CO2 at minus 150¼ F or colder. Used for IQF products

Curing Using salt or sugar to draw moisture from the flesh of fish or other meats to make it unattractive to the growth of spoilage bacteria. Curing was widely used as a preservation method before the advent of modern refrigeration techniques. Today, curing is used to give a pleasing flavor to fish and refrigeration is recommended to preserve this product from spoilage


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D

Deep-skinned Removing the fat layer underneath the skin on oily species for milder flavor and improved shelf life

Diamond Cut A rhombus-shaped cut from a block of whole fillet; sides may be squared off or cut with a tapered edge. This form is usually breaded or battered; also called French cut

Dip A number of similar chemicals are used in processing seafood to help retain moisture, and sometimes to improve the appearance by whitening. The use of dips is long established and so far as is known, harmless. It is common in other parts of the food industry

Dorsal The top of a fish

Double-frozen Fish or shellfish that is frozen at sea, thawed for reprocessing in a plant onshore and then frozen a second time; also called "twice-frozen" or "refrozen”

Dragger A term that is interchangeable with a fishing trawler boat. Draggers tow a large net

Dressed Fish Completely cleaned but with head on (head removed is usually called pan-dressed). Both forms are ready for stuffing and are generally cooked in one piece

Drip Loss Weight loss that occurs as a seafood product gives up moisture or loss of moisture during the thawing of frozen seafood

Dry Pack A pack form of chopped clams that contains no clam juice


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E

Eviscerated Gutted

Ex-vessel Price Price received by fishermen for fish, shellfish, and other aquatic plants and animals landed at the dock


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F

FAS Frozen at sea

Fat Line The fattiest part of a fish, mostly along the belly walls and lateral line. The fat line is often removed for milder flavor and improved shelf life

Feathering Trimming the fillet to remove the "frill" of small bones around the edge

Filet French spelling for fillet (see Fillet)

Fillet A slice of fish flesh of irregular size and shape, which is removed from the carcass by a cut, made parallel to the backbone, usually 2 to 12 oz. Some fillets, especially of fresh fish and those used to make up the larger frozen blocks, may be larger than 12 oz. However, for most institutional foodservice and home uses, frozen fish fillets over 12 oz. are not generally available. Special cut fillets are taken from solid large blocks; these include a "natural" cut fillet, wedge, and tail shape. Fillets may be skinless or have skin on; pin bones may or may not be removed

Fingers Irregular-shaped pieces of fish, similar to a long thin fillet; breaded or battered, raw or pre-cooked. Weight per piece varies, available portioned (1 to 3 oz.), or in bulk

Finnan Haddie A medium-sized haddock split down the back with backbone left on, then brined and hot smoked

Fletch A fillet cut from large flatfish, such as halibut, and then further divided into boneless portions

FOB Free on board. The abbreviation is usually followed by a city's name. It is used with quoted prices and indicates that any shipping charges beyond the F.O.B. point are the buyer's responsibility

Formed Fillets Portions cut from blocks in such a way that they appear to be natural fillets, although all are exactly the same size and shape

Freezer Burn Dehydration caused by the evaporation loss of moisture from product. It is recognized by a whitish, cottony appearance of the flesh, especially at the cut edges or thinner places

Fresh Product that has never been frozen, cooked, cured or otherwise preserved

Fresh Frozen Indicates fish were quickly frozen while still fresh

Front Section A large section (thicker than a steak) taken from the forward third of a fish's body

Frozen Fish that have been subjected to rapid lowering of temperature, from zero to -30 degrees, in such a manner as to preserve the inherent quality. See Blast and Plate Freezing


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G

Gaping The separation of individual flakes of meat in a fillet. Gaping can be a natural feature of the fish flesh or the result of poor handling

Gel Pack A coolant package filled with a combination of water and a gel-type material used for shipping seafood. Coolants are often dyed blue so any leakage is obvious

Glazed Indicates fish has been dipped in water after freezing. The ice forms a glaze around the fish or meat, protecting it from damage by freezer burn. Fish or shellfish may be re-glazed or double-glazed to ensure adequate protection

Grading Incremental measurement of seafood products, such as counts per pound of shrimp or weight range of fillets

Groundfish Fish that are caught on or near the sea floor. The term includes a wide variety of bottom fishes, rockfishes, and flatfishes. The National Marine Fisheries Service sometimes uses the term in a narrower sense. The term usually applies to cod, cusk, haddock, hake, Pollock and Atlantic ocean perch

Gutted Fully eviscerated


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H

H&G Headed and gutted

HACCP Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point; a mandatory food-safety program implemented by the seafood industry in December 1997 to minimize risk to public health. HACCP requires suppliers to write up and follow a program detailing all points in their manufacturing process where hazards exist; these are the critical control points

Hard-smoked Products that have been smoked for up to several weeks

Histamine Organic substance produced in the tissue of a fish that has not been properly cooled after harvest. Histamine concentrations produce food-poisoning symptoms in humans. Poorly handled mahi mahi, tuna and bluefish are the most commonly implicated species. Also called scombroid poisoning due to its association with the tuna family

Honeycombing Similar to gaping but use when referring to fish steaks. Can be a natural feature of the fish flesh or a result of poor handling


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I

Immersion Freezing Also referred to as Brine Freezing. A freezing method of placing seafood products in direct contact with a refrigerant. The refrigerant can be applied as a bath or spray, in batch- or continuous-type freezing operations prior to packaging for subsequent frozen storage

IPW Individually poly-wrapped

IQF Individually quick-frozen. The same as frozen, but indicates the individual forms have been frozen separately, usually by cryogenic means. This prevents the forms from sticking together and facilitates use


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J

J-cut A method of removing pin-bones that also removes the nape. J-cut fillets are more expensive than other fillets


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K

Kg, Kilo, Kilogram A metric weight equivalent to 2.2046 pounds. In the U.S. it is usually calculated as 2.2 pounds. Imported product is often sold by the kilogram

Kipper To cure (herring, salmon, etc.) by cleaning, salting and drying or smoking


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L

Landings Quantities of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic plants and animals brought ashore and sold. Landings of fish may be in terms of round (live) weight or dressed weight. Landings of crustaceans are usually on a live weight basis except for shrimp, which may be on a heads-on or heads-off basis. Mollusks are generally landed with the shell on, but in some cases only the meats are landed (as with scallops). Data for all mollusks are published on meat weight basis

Lateral Line A sensory organ along each side of the head and body of fishes, probably for detecting vibrations, currents, and pressure

Layer-Pack A box of frozen fillets where the layers are separated by sheets of polyethylene plastic. Fillets in each layer may overlap and be frozen together

Loin The central, thick part of a fish fillet, above the belly. Large fillets from fish such as tuna are often called loins. Loins may be cut into steaks

Lox Mild-cured salmon has been cold smoked, soaked in brine for long periods, then soaked to remove the salt


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M

Marinated Indicates that the seafood has been cured in an acidic solution, such as vinegar

Market Cut Portions, fillets, or other cuts with varied sized pieces. This term is commonly used in the retail trade as a pack that allows for consumers to choose the size and weight of their choice

Mince Fish pieces left over from filleting and trimming, sieved to remove any bones; used for making minced blocks

Molting The process by which a crustacean sheds its shell to accommodate growth

Muscle Line A line of fat running laterally down the center of a fillet


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N

Nape Located around the belly. The front and thinnest part of a fillet

Net Weight Net weight is the weight of the product without packing material or glaze


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O

Ocean-run Refers to salmon that are still in the ocean and are therefore bright and firm. Seafood companies use the term to indicate a pack of random-weight products

Omega-3's Fatty acids found in seafood. Research has found that these fatty acids have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system and many other aspects of human health


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P

Pelagic Migratory species of fish that live near the ocean surface such as tuna

Per Capita Consumption Consumption of edible fishery products in the U.S., divided by the total population. In calculating annual per capita consumption, the National Marine Fisheries Service estimates the resident population of the U.S. in July of each year

Pin Bones A strip of small bones found along the midline of many fillets; can be removed with "V" or "J" cuts

Plate Freezing Freezing by use of a refrigerant flowing through hollow metal plates that are in direct contact with prepackaged seafood. Typically the plates are moveable to sandwich the product between two chilled surfaces, compressing it to ensure uniform contact and freezing

Poly Lined Carton A package lined with plastic on the inside to protect seafood products

Portion Usually a square or rectangle, cut from a block of frozen fish. Weights vary from 1-1/2 oz. to about 6 oz. May be plain or breaded, raw or pre-cooked. Fish portion packs may bear grading and inspection marks. Raw portions are at least 3/8 inch thick, and contain at least 75% fish. The fish, from which the block is made, must be fillets from only one species, skin on or skinless. Minced fish portion is a term used for portions manufactured from mechanically separated fish flesh. Labels must, and menus should, indicate whether fish portions are "minced fish" or "fillet fish" portions

Previously Frozen Frozen seafood that has been slacked out, or thawed for sale in that state; it should be clearly identified as "previously frozen" product to distinguish it from fresh

Processing Block A block of fillet pieces used for fish sticks


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Q

Quarter Cuts Large fillets that have been cut in half


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R

Rancidity The oxidation of the natural oil in the fish, making the fish unpalatable

Refreshed Also ‘previously frozen’. Seafood that has been frozen, often in blocks, then slacked out for resale

Roe Most fish species grow eggs in a sac in the abdomen, and the roe of some species is considered a delicacy in various countries. Sturgeon roe, or caviar, is the most well known and expensive in the U.S. Cod, herring, mullet, Pollock, salmon, and shad all produce roe prized by various regional and ethnic groups

Round Whole, ungutted fish; shrimp that has been peeled but not split or deveined


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S

Sashimi Japanese-style raw fish cut into various forms. Also a term used to grade certain species such as Swordfish. When frozen, sashimi is held at extremely low temperatures down to -50 degrees

Scrod Size designation for cod, haddock, pollock and cusk. Means "small," usually under a specific poundage. Scrod is not a species of fish; sometimes spelled schrod

Scrombroid Organic substance produced in the tissue of a fish that has not been properly cooled after harvest. Histamine concentrations produce food-poisoning symptoms in humans. Poorly handled mahi mahi, tuna, and bluefish are the most commonly implicated species. Also called scombroid poisoning due to its association with the tuna family. See histamine

Sections The three walking legs and one claw on one side of king, snow or Dungeness crab, all attached at the shoulder

Semibright Chum salmon that has been harvested in freshwater, on its way to spawn. Semibrights are also called "brights”

Shatterpack A box of frozen fish fillets separated by interleaved polyethylene sheets. By dropping the box, ‘shattering’ the pack will separate fillets

Shelf Life The expected amount of time a seafood product will remain in high-quality condition for consumption. In general, the higher the fat content, the more prone the product is to spoilage and flavor changes. Cold temperatures retard most of these changes

Shellfish Two major groups of seafood are called shellfish. Mollusks include clams, oysters, mussels, conch, snails and scallops. Crustaceans include shrimp, crabs, lobster and crawfish. Squid and octopus are generally considered shellfish as well

Shrink Natural weight loss of seafood due to seepage or fluids draining from product, also called drip or purge. Can also refer to loss of seafood product or profitability due to other means, such as discarding seafood too old to sell

Silverbright A term referring to chum salmon that have been harvested at sea rather than in freshwater

Skinned Some species of fish are skinned rather than dressed, such as catfish and eels

Slacked Out Frozen seafood that has been thawed. Also called "refreshed"

Smoked Fish cured by the action of smoke produced from slowly burning wood or other material to partly dry the product and impart a smoky flavor

Snap-N-Eats Crab legs that have been cooked, frozen and scored through the shell so they can be hand-cracked for easy eating

Steak A cross-sectional slice of a fish, usually 1/2 to 2 inches thick and containing a section of the backbone. Steaks usually yield an edible portion of about 86% to 92%. Salmon, halibut, swordfish and other large fish are commonly processed and sold as steaks

STP An additive. Sodium Tripolyphosphate is used on fish and shrimp to retain moisture

Sushi Thin, Japanese-style slices of raw fish placed on boiled rice, flavored with rice wine vinegar and rolled in seaweed (nori). The rolls are sliced into bite-sized portions


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T

Tail Fish portion, which resembles the tail of a fish, boneless, usually breaded or batter-dipped, raw or precooked. Weights vary from 3-1/2 to 6 oz. Sometimes the entire tail, bone-in, is breaded and frozen for sale as a "tail". The term is also applied to shrimp and spiny lobster with reference to their meaty tail sections

Tempura Batter A light Japanese-style batter that is becoming increasingly popular

Ton In international seafood sales, usually refers to a metric ton (2205 lbs.)

Tray Pack A seafood packaging form in which a product is prepackaged on a shallow, clear or foam-plastic tray, over wrapped with transparent, plastic film. An absorbent paper pad, covered with plastic to avoid sticking to the product, is sandwiched between the product and the tray to draw off moisture

Trimmed Where the fins and tail have been removed on fin fish

Tripolyphosphate A sodium-based additive used to control moisture loss. Often applied at sea to fresh-shucked scallops. Seafood with Tripoly added is referred to as "wet," "dipped," or "treated”


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V

V-cut A method of removing pinbones by making a V-shaped cut along both sides of the pinbone strip, leaving most of the nape


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W

Watermarked Describes the darkened, dulled skin of salmon as it sexually matures and enters freshwater prior to spawning

Wetlock Wax-coated cardboard used for shipping fish packed on ice

Wheel Cross-sectional center cut from large species like sharks and swordfish from which steaks are then cut

Wholefish The complete fish just as it comes from the water, also called landed or round weight


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Y

Yield The percent of meat recoverable from fish or shellfish


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