Extreme Makeover: Seafood Edition

Marketers gave these former trash fish new names—and transformed them from gross to gourmet.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


NEW NAME

OLD NAME

STORY

Orange roughy

Slimehead

Originally named for its mucus-covered head

Torbay sole

Witch

Renamed by UK grocer Marks & Spencer after a picturesque English bay

Rock salmon/hass

Spiny dogfish

The result of an $8.5 million ’70s campaign to rebrand “underutilized species”

Silverbrite salmon

Chum salmon/dog salmon

One of the cheapest kinds of salmon, it has canine-like fangs.

Peekytoe crab

Rock crab

Considered essentially worthless till the mid-’90s; now the darling of trendy restaurants

Scarlet snapper

South African hake, Malabar blood snapper

“Anything that is red is going to be sold as red snapper, no matter what it is,” says one restaurant supplier.

Blue cod

Oilfish

Like escolar, oilfish is known for its laxative effect.

Source: Marine Policy

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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