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Trimming Halibut, Trident plant, Sand Point, AK, 6-18-10

These definitions were developed from submissions by members of the Seafood Industry. Please contact us with additional definitions or corrections that we may add to this seafood processor definitions list. Add new seafood processor definitions.

Seafood Processor Definitions

Additional Terms & Deifinitions


  • Abalone — a mollusk, related to a sea snail, similar in flavor to a clam. It may be cooked by various methods and is best suited to very long or very short cooking times. Also called "awabi" in Japanese cuisine and "loco" in South American cuisine.

  • Aberdeen Cut — A rhombus-shaped cut from a block of frozen fish; sides may be squared off or cut with a tapered edge. Usually breaded/battered. Also called diamond cut, French cut.

  • Additives — chemicals used in processing seafood to help retain moisture and improve appearance. They must be approved by the FDA and listed on product labels.

  • American Cut — Fish portions or fillets with tapering or beveled edges, rather than square-cut sides. Also called Dover cut.

  • Anadromous — fish that are born in fresh water, descend into the sea to grow to maturity, and then return to spawn in freshwater rivers and streams. Examples include Pacific and Atlantic salmon, American shad and striped bass.

  • Anchoveta — an anchovy, Cetengraulis mysticetus, found along the Pacific coast from British Columbia to Lower California, used for bait.

  • Aquaculture — rearing aquatic plants and animals in either fresh or salt (sea) water. "Mariculture" means, more specifically, using seawater. A hatchery is also a form of aquaculture, but the fish are released before harvest size is reached. The National Aquaculture Act of 1980 defines aquaculture as "the propagation and rearing of aquatic species in controlled or selected environments, including ocean ranching." The Act divides responsibility for most aquaculture research, regulatory and related activities among the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior. Private aquaculture has grown rapidly and diversified in recent years.

  • Artisanal Fishing — fishing for subsistence needs by coastal or island ethnic and indigenous groups using traditional methods. Also known as subsistence or aboriginal fishing.


  • Battered — Product is covered, usually with egg or flour and partially cooked prior to freezing.

  • B/F-Block Frozen — Blocks are uniformly shaped masses of cohering fish fillets or a mixture of fillets and minced fish flesh, or entirely minced fish flesh ranging in weight from 13 to 16 lbs. intended for further processing into fish sticks and portions. Larger blocks may contain whole dressed fish for subsequent thawing, processing or resale.

    1. Block-Boned/Boneless — Product has been processed to remove backbone and rib bones.

    2. Fillet block — Product skinless fillets laminated in a plate freezer with perfect corners and edges exactly 7 48 kgs in weight generally 140 blocks on a pallet.

    3. H&G block — Product headed and gutted

    4. Mince block — Product minced fish flesh

    5. Piece block — Product chunks/pieces

  • Basket Shrimp — small undeveined, breaded shrimp.

  • Batter — a mixture of dry ingredients (such as flours or starches) and water in a ratio suitable for coating seafood.

  • Batter-Dipped — sometimes referred to as batter-fried. Products that have been coated in batter and then immersed in hot oil to secure the batter. These products are then usually frozen.

  • Battered — Product covered in liquid mixture, usually egg and flour. This is usually partly cooked (pre-cooked) to set the batter in place before freezing.

  • Belly Burn — A condition where the rib bones protrude into the belly cavity. It usually indicates soft flesh, and shows that the fish was not totally fresh when processed or not properly eviscerated.

  • Benthic — refers to fish and other marine animals that live on or in the water bottom.

  • Berried — female lobsters or crabs with eggs attached to the appendages of the underside of the abdomen. By law, they must be returned to sea.

  • BFT — Bluefin Tuna

  • Billfish — fish such as marlins, sailfish, spearfish and swordfish that are highly migratory and have snouts extended into a bill or "spear."

  • Biodiversity — defined in the Biodiversity Convention as "the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems."

  • Biological Reference Points — fishing mortality rates that may provide acceptable protection against over fishing a stock. They are usually calculated from equilibrium yield-per-recruit curves, spawning stock biomass-per-recruit curves and stock recruitment data. Examples are F0.1 or Fmax.

  • Biomass — the size of a stock, usually measured by weight in pounds or metric tons, at a given time. For example, spawning biomass is the combined weight of mature animals.

  • Biotoxins — natural toxins produced by organisms, often for use as a defense.

  • Bisulfite (sodium bisulfite) — used to treat shrimp to prevent melanosis, or black spot.

  • Bits & Pieces- Bits & pieces of fish block laminated in a plate freezer with perfect corners and edges exactly 7 48 kgs in weight generally 140 blocks on a pallet

  • Bivalve — a mollusk with two shells hinged together, such as the oyster, clam, or mussel.

  • Black Spot — a darkening between a shrimp shell and the tail muscle; it develops as the product deteriorates. It is more properly known as melanosis.

  • Blast Freezing — freezing by circulating cold air over seafood in trays or racks. Continuous operations use rotating belts or spiral screens.

  • Bleeding — Cutting an artery behind the gills of a fish to improve quality and shelf life. 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.

  • Blocklisting — a procedure of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that requires imported products to be detained and approved by the FDA before distribution in the United States.

  • Blood Line — a line of blood located along the backbone of the fish that often is removed prior to the fish being frozen or further processed.

  • Bnls — Boneless

  • Boned — all primary bones have been removed, although some secondary bones may remain.

  • 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.

  • Boneless Fillet — Fillets from which the pinbones have been removed.

  • Boston Cut — A fillet cut that removes most of the nape and leaves a small portion of the pinbones, which break down when cooked and become indistinguishable from the rest of the fillet.

  • Bottomfish (see also Groundfish) — those fish species that reside on the ocean floor, including sablefish, pollock, cod, and many flatfish. Typically harvested by trawls, pots and longline.

  • Bottom Trawls — nets designed to work near the bottom.

  • Botulism — a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum.

  • Breaded — Product covered in liquid dip, bread crumbs 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.

  • Breading — flour, breadcrumbs, cracked meal or a blend of flour and other ingredients used to coat seafood.

  • Brine Freezing — Freezing seafood by soaking in liquid brine.

  • Brining — the process of immersing a fish in a solution of food-grade salt and water for a period of time to allow it to absorb salt. It often referred to as "pickled" or "wet salted."

  • Broodfish — Fish kept for egg production, including males. Broodfish produce the fertilized eggs, which go to hatcheries.

  • Bubble Pack — a type of packaging in which whole-cooked lobster is frozen in brine and packed in a sealed plastic "bubble" with water. Also called "popsicle" pack.

  • Bullets — hole gutted fish with head and tail removed.

  • Bushel — Measure equal to 8 gallons or 32-quart capacity.

  • Butterflied — a method of cutting a fish fillet or shrimp. A butterfly fillet is cut along both sides of the fish with the two pieces remaining joined by a piece of skin. Butterfly shrimp is peeled and deveined, with the shell left on the last tail segment.

  • 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.

  • Butterfly Shrimp — Peeled and deveined shrimp with the shell left on the last (tail) segment.

  • Bycatch — has a variety of meanings, some of which are overlapping or contradictory. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act defines it as "fish which are harvested in a fishery, but which are not sold or kept for personal use, and includes economic discards and regulatory discards...[but not] fish released alive under a recreational catch and release fishery management program."

  • Bycatch Reduction Device — a modification to fishing gear to reduce the catch or mortality of bycatch species during fishing operations.


  • C&F — Shipping term for cost and freight. When quoted, a C&F price means price delivered.

  • Cage Culture — the rearing of fish or other organisms in cages suspended or floating in a suitable area of a water body for commercial purposes.

  • Calamari — the Italian word for squid.

  • Cakes (fritters, dumplings) — a mixture of flour or meal, seafood and other ingredients such as vegetables and seasonings in a batter that is sautéed, fried or baked.

  • Candling — Skin is removed by an automated skinner. After skinning the fillets, the flesh is run by bright lights and inspected for defects.

  • Carapace — the shield covering the upper surface of part of the body of various crustacean species (for example, the broad shield forming the upper body cover of crabs and of the front portion of prawns and lobsters).

  • Carrying Capacity — the maximum number of organisms that a certain habitat can sustain over the long term.

  • Catch Per Unit Of Effort (CPUE) — the catch of fish, in numbers or in weight, taken by a defined unit of fishing effort. Also called catch per effort, fishing success, or availability. It is often used as a measure of fish abundance.

  • Catadromous — fish that spend most of their life in fresh water and migrate to saltwater to spawn. The American eel is an example.

  • 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)

  • Cellopack — packaging whereby seafood, normally fillets, are wrapped in cellophane or polyethylene film and typically packed in 5- or 10-pound boxes. Also called cellowrap.

  • Cello Wraps — Fillets wrapped together in cellophane or polyethylene film. Each wrap is usually labeled with the type of fish, the packer and the brand. Six polywraps per 5-lb. box is standard.

  • Cephalopods — literally, 'head-foot'. Refers to animals like squid and octopus, in which the tentacles converge at the head.

  • Cetaceans — marine mammals of the order Cetacea, including whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

  • Chinook Salmon (King Salmon) — the largest salmon species, averaging more than 25 pounds. They are usually caught by gillnet and troll.

  • Cholesterol (dietary) — a fat-like substance classified as a lipid. It is vital to life and is found in all cell membranes. Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal foods. Abundant in organ meats and egg yolks, cholesterol is also contained in meats, poultry and some seafood.

  • Chubs — Mechanically filled tubes of various colors of various weights of between 2 & 5 kgs each chub and fixed with a metal or plastic clip at either end.

  • Chum Salmon (Dog Salmon) — called dog salmon in part because of the hooked snout and protruding dog-like teeth that become prominent when spawning.

  • Chu-toro — Chu-toro means medium fat in the summer months. A tuna only has chu-toro and akami parts since the fish is swimming around a lot more and is leaner in winter however the chu-toro is meltingly soft and has a very different flavor from akami.

  • Chunks — Chunks or off cuts of fish produced generally from a filleting or portioning operation. Chunk sizes will vary and they should be skinless and boneless

  • Ciguatera — an illness caused by eating certain fish containing ciguatoxin caught in tropical and island waters. The toxin is believed to originate in microscopic algae that the fish eat. The fish most commonly implicated are amberjack, snapper, grouper, mahi-mahi, barracuda and reef fish of the Carrangidae (jack) family.

  • Ciguatera — A neurotoxin found in certain types of reef fish. The toxin accumulates in the flesh as a result of eating some forms of algae, or preying on fish that eat the algae.

  • Cleaned Shrimp — shrimp that have been peeled and washed, a process that removes some or all of the vein, but is not thorough enough to warrant the P&D label.

  • Clipper — denotes high-quality swordfish or mahi-mahi, usually caught and frozen at sea.

  • Cluster — 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."

  • Clam — a variety of bivalve, or two-shelled mollusk. The two main types of clams are soft shell and hard shell. Local names for clams include littleneck, razor, quahog, surf and margaritas, as well as many more.

  • Cocktail claw — Claws from a crab with part of the shell removed to expose the meat.

  • Cod — fish from the family Gadidae, but this term especially refers to Atlantic cod, Gadus callarius.

  • Codend — the closed end of a trawl net where the fish are collected.

  • Coho Salmon (Silver Salmon) — a salmon species that is primarily caught with trolls.

  • Cohort — those individuals of a stock born in the same spawning season.

  • Cohort Analysis — a scientific technique for estimating the magnitude of fishing mortality and the number of fish at each age in a stock.

  • Commercial Fishing — defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as "fishing in which the fish harvested, either in whole or in part, are intended to enter commerce through sale, barter or trade."

  • Cold-Smoked — fish or other seafood smoked at low temperatures (around 80° F) for 18 hours to several days, producing a moist, delicately flavored product.

  • Collar — the bones of a fish just behind its gills. The collar is discarded when a fish is steaked or filleted. Most headless fish are sold with the collar on because it helps preserve the fish's shape.

  • COOL — Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, more commonly known as the 2002 Farm Bill. One of its many initiatives requires country of origin labeling for beef, lamb, pork, fish, perishable agricultural commodities and peanuts.

  • CPND — Cooked, Peeled & Deveined

  • CPTO — Cooked Peeled Tail On

  • Council — refers to the Regional Fishery Management Councils, established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to prepare Fishery Management Plans and amendments for fisheries in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.

  • Counts — the number of a seafood product (e.g. shrimp or scallops) per pound. The larger the count, the smaller the individual pieces.

  • Crayfish — Freshwater crustaceans of the genera Astacus and Cambarus. They are also known as crawdads and crawfish.

  • Croquettes — Patties containing a mixture of breading or breadcrumbs or other binder; usually at least 35% seafood, such as combination of fish and crabmeat. May have all one kind of seafood, such as shrimp or crabmeat, or a combination. Product forms include breaded; pre-cooked or browned; I.Q.F., 2 oz. each, dry-pack.

  • Cross-Contamination — occurs when cooked seafood comes into direct or indirect contact with raw seafood, other raw food or contaminated surfaces and utensils.

  • Crusher — the larger of the two claws on an American lobster.

  • Crustacean — shellfish of the class Crustacea, characterized by joined appendages and hard outer shells. This group includes shrimp, crayfish, lobster, and crabs.

  • Cryogenic Freezing — an accelerated form of blast freezing in which products are exposed to sprays of liquid nitrogen or CO2 at minus 150º F or colder. Used for IQF products.

  • Cubes — Generally IQF individually quick frozen cubes cut into various sizes from 4mm upwards.

  • Cull — an American lobster with one or no claws. Normally sold at lower price than lobsters with claws intact.

  • Curing — Using salt or sugar to draw moisture from the flesh of fish, also used to enhance flavor.

  • Custom Cut — Irregularly shaped triangle cut from a block of frozen fish.

  • Cuttlefish — cephalopods related to squid.


  • Deep-Skinned — fish that has had the fat layer underneath the skin removed. This creates milder flavor and improved shelf life.

  • Demersal — fish that live near the bottom of an ocean, river or lake, also known as groundfish. Also refers to eggs that are denser than water and sink to the bottom after spawning. Examples are flounder and croaker.

  • Depletion — reducing the abundance of a fish stock through fishing.

  • Depuration Processor (DP) — A person who receives shellstock from approved or conditionally approved, restricted or conditionally restricted growing areas and submits such shellstock to an approved depuration process.

  • Devein — to remove the vein (digestive tract) from the tail section of a shrimp, lobster or other crustacean.

  • Dip — chemical solutions or additives used to preserve shelf life and prevent moisture loss.

  • Discarding — disposing of catch, dead or alive, during or after fishing operations.

  • Dorsal — the top of a fish. Also refers to the top fin on the fish.

  • Double Fillets — cut from both sides of the fish, with the two remaining pieces joined at the back. Also called "butterfly fillet."

  • 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 interchangeable with a fishing trawler boat. Draggers tow a large net.

  • Drawn — fish that are gutted, with head and fins intact.

  • Drawn Fish — Entrails, gills and scales removed. Since entrails cause rapid spoilage, drawn fish have a longer storage life.

  • Dredges — fishing gear that is dragged along sand or mud sea bottoms, usually to collect mollusks. The vessel drops a steel frame dredge to the sea floor and it is dragged across the seabed. The catch is held in a sort of bag or sieve which allows the water, sand or mud to run out.

  • 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. Fish that have been gutted and scaled with gills removed. Usually the fins are removed as well. Dressed in NZ commonly refers to a HG or HGT fish which has the head cut which carries further back, the angle is more severe into the belly ( giving lower H&G recovery ) also known as a J cut, for red fish etc.

  • Dried — seafood that has been dehydrated by natural (air, sun) or mechanical means.

  • Driftnets — type of floating gillnet kept on the surface, or just below it, by numerous floats and held vertical by a weighted foot rope. These nets drift freely with the currently, either separately or, more usually, with the boat to which they are attached. These nets caused considerable controversy, particularly because of concerns over the level of bycatch, and the UN General Assembly has called for a worldwide ban on the use of driftnets longer than 2.5 km on the high seas.

  • Drip Loss — occurs as a seafood product gives up moisture.

  • Dry Pack — a package of chopped clams containing no clam juice.

  • Dry Salting — used in curing seafood, allowing it to acquire a denser, firmer texture.

  • Dungeness Crab — (Cancer magister) — a species found on the U.S. West Coast that is distinguished from other commercially caught crabs by its disproportionately small legs.

  • DWPE — (Detention Without Physical Examination- formerly known as Automatic Detention) Occasionally, FDA identifies products from an entire country or geographic region for DWPE when the violative conditions appear to be geographically widespread. Detention recommendations of this breadth are rare and are initiated only after other avenues for resolving the problem have been exhausted.

  • DWT — Dressed Headless Without Tail


  • Ecology — a branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environments; the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment.

  • Ecosystem — a complex of plant, animal and microorganisms, which, together with the non-living components, interact to maintain a functional unit.

  • Endangered Species — those species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. They are protected under federal and international law and cannot be bought or sold in commercial trade.

  • Endangered Species Act (ESA) — a statute enacted in 1973 to conserve species and ecosystems. Species facing possible extinction are listed as "threatened" or "endangered," or as "candidate" species. When a listing is made, recovery and conservation plans are prepared to ensure the protection of the species and its habitat.

  • Equilibrium Yield — the yield in weight taken from a fish stock when it is in equilibrium with fishing of a given intensity, and (apart from effects of environmental variation) its biomass is not changing from one year to the next. See also sustainable yield.

  • Essential Fish Habitat — defined by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as "those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding or growth to maturity."

  • Estuarine Dependent — refers to the many species of fish, crustaceans and mollusk that live in estuarine habitats for all or part of their lives. Examples include oysters, blue crabs, shrimp and red drum.

  • Estuary — a semi-enclosed body of water with an open connection to the sea. Typically, there is a mixing of sea and fresh water, and the influx of nutrients from both sources results in high productivity.

  • Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) — an ocean area that extends from the seaward boundaries of the coastal states (3 nautical miles, in most cases) to 200 miles off the coast of the United States. Within this area, the United States claims and exercises sovereign rights and exclusive fishery management authority over all fish and all Continental Shelf fishery resources.

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


  • F — an abbreviation used by fishery scientists for the rate of fishing mortality.

  • Fancy — Crab sandwich-style mix of leg and shoulder/body meat.

  • FALCPA — Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protectioon Act of 2004.

  • FAS — Frozen At Sea

  • FDA Consulting Services — The only company to contact when you need FAST, accurate and affordable HACCP, Food Safety and Total Quality Management Services.

  • Fmax — the rate of fishing mortality for a given exploitation pattern rate of growth and natural mortality, that results in the maximum level of yield-per-recruit. This is the point that defines growth over fishing.

  • F0.1 — the fishing mortality rate at which the increase in yield-per-recruit in weight for an increase in a unit-of-effort is only 10 percent of the yield-per-recruit produced by the first unit of effort on the unexploited stock (i.e., the slope of the yield-per-recruit curve for the F0.1 rate is only one-tenth the slope of the curve at its origin).

  • Fats (dietary fats) — known chemically as triglycerides, fats are an essential nutrient in a healthy diet. Fats supply essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, which is especially important to childhood growth. Fat helps maintain healthy skin and regulate cholesterol metabolism. Dietary fat is needed to carry fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and to aid in their absorption from the intestine.

  • Fecundity — the total number of eggs produced by a female fish.

  • Fillet — A slice of fish flesh of irregular size and shape that is removed by a cut made parallel to the backbone.

  • Fillet — Fillet with the nugget (belly flap attached to it.)

  • Fillets skinless belly flap off

  • Fillets skinless belly flap on

  • Fillets skinless boneless

  • Fillets skinless bone in

  • Fillets skin on belly flap on

  • Fillets skin on belly flap off

  • Fillets skin on boneless

  • Fillets skin on bone in

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

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

  • Fish Steak — a thick, cross-section cut of a large fish that includes a piece of the backbone.

  • Fish Sticks — Irregular-shaped pieces of fish, similar to a long, thin fillet, breaded or battered, raw or pre-cooked, usually machine cut from fish block, then coated and fried.

  • Fishery — defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as "one or more stocks of fish which can be treated as a unit for purposes of conservation and management and which are identified on the basis of geographical, scientific, technical, recreational, and economic characteristics; and...any fishing for such stocks."

  • Fishery Management Plan (FMP) — a plan developed by a Regional Fishery Management Council and the Secretary of Commerce to manage a fishery resource pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

  • Fishing Capacity — the quantity of fish that can be taken by a particular fishing unit, for example, an individual, a community, a vessel or a fleet.

  • Fishing Community — defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as "a community which is substantially dependent on or substantially engaged in the harvest or processing of fishery resources to meet social and economic needs, and includes fishing vessel owners, operators, and crew and United States fish processors that are based in such community."

  • Fishing Effort — the total fishing gear in use for a specified period of time. When two or more kinds of gear are used, they must be adjusted to some standard type.

  • Fishing Mortality — the amount of fish taken by fishing.

  • Fishing Power — represents the ability of a gear or vessel to catch fish during a certain time interval. Larger vessels with greater horsepower that catch more fish have a greater fishing power than smaller vessels. Improvements in a vessel or gear, such as a fish finder, can increase fishing power.

  • Flag Of Convenience — the registration of vessels under the flags of a number of States which operate "open registers," i.e. registers open to vessels from any State, whether or not there is any real connection between the orthodox State of the vessel and itself or not. Panama and Liberia have traditionally been the principal open registry countries, although since the 1980s there has been a growing list of flag of convenience States — e.g., Honduras, Vanuatu, and Belize. Some vessels use flags of convenience to evade restrictions on fishing adopted by their original flag State. The unregulated fishing by vessels flying flags of convenience is now regarded as the major threat to internationally sustainable fisheries.

  • Flakes — Flakes of fish flakes are easiest produced from cooked or pasteurised fish.

  • Fletch — Large boneless fillet of halibut, swordfish or tuna.

  • FOB/FOT — Free on board/Free on truck. Charges beyond the termination point are the buyer's responsibility.

  • Food Guide Pyramid — a graphic design used to communicate the recommended daily food choices contained in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The information provided was developed and promoted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Fork Length — the length of a fish measured from the tip of the snout and the most anterior point of the fork or "V" of the tail.

  • 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.

  • Freedom of Fishing — one of the oldest principles of the international law of the sea. It is usually attributed to the early 17th Century Dutch jurist, Hugo Grotius, who argued that ownership of the high seas was unnecessary and that its resources should remain free for the use of all.

  • Fresh — under FDA rules, refers only to product that is raw, and has never been frozen or heated, and contains no preservatives

  • 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.

  • Freezer Trawlers — trawlers that are outfitted with refrigerating plant and freezing equipment and on which the fish is preserved by freezing.


  • Gaping — the separation of meat in a fillet, either as a natural feature of the fish flesh or a result of poor handling. Also refers to the opened shell of live shellfish. Severe gaping indicates the shellfish is dead and should not be eaten.

  • Gel Pack — a coolant package filled with a gel-type material used for shipping seafood. Coolants are often dyed blue so any leakage is obvious.

  • GG — Gilled and gutted. Completely cleaned, but with head on.

  • GGS — Gilled, Gutted, Scaled

  • Ghost Fishing — occurs when lost or abandoned nets continue to capture marine life after the nets have been lost or abandoned.

  • Gillnets — curtain-like nets suspended vertically in the water to entrap fish. Fish are caught by their gills in the net. These nets may be used to fish on the surface, in mid-water, or at the bottom

  • Girdie — the large reel used to pull in trolling lines.

  • Glaze — Protective coating of ice on frozen product, used to prevent dehydration.

  • Glazed — fish that has been dipped in water after freezing. Ice forms a glaze around the fish, protecting it from damage by freezer burn.

  • GMP — (Good Manufacturing Practices) Federal regulations define specific procedures to minimize the contamination of food products by people in manufacturing, processing packaging and warehousing facilities. The regulations are called Good Manufacturing Procedures (GMPs). GMPs are an integral part of quality control.

  • Grading — a term for the incremental measurement of the weight or quality of seafood, such as counts per pound of shrimp.

  • GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) — the regulatory status of food ingredients not evaluated by the FDA prescribed testing procedure. It also includes common food ingredients that were already in use when the 1959 Food Additives Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act was enacted.

  • Gravlax — fillets of salmon rubbed with a mixture of coarse salt, sugar and white pepper, placed meat side against meat-side with mustard and dill and pressed with weights in a chilled environment. The salmon is then sliced paper-thin and served with pumpernickel bread, sour cream, capers, onion, and lemon. Other spellings are gravadlax and gravlax.

  • Green Headless — raw, heads-off, unshelled shrimp. "Green" is not the color of the shrimp.

  • Green Sheet — The name by which most people refer to the Market News Reports issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service from New York.

  • Groundfish — Fish caught on or near the sea floor. The term usually applies to cod, cusk, haddock, hake, pollock and Atlantic ocean perch.

  • Growth Over fishing — a type of over fishing in which the loss in weight of a stock from mortality exceeds the gain in weight due to growth. When this occurs, the rate of fishing causes a reduction in the biomass of a stock. This point is defined as Fmax.

  • Gutted — fully eviscerated.


  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) — a system for preventing food borne illness by identifying the processing steps at which problems may occur and developing solutions to reduce or eliminate them. At the request of the seafood industry, HACCP became mandatory for seafood by the FDA in December 1997.

  • Halibut — species of fish (Hippoglossus hippoglossus and Hippoglossus stenolepis) characterized by their flatness. Both eyes are on the top side of the body. Halibut reside on the sandy bottoms of the ocean floor and are harvested by longlines. Halibut meat is highly valued.

  • Hard-Smoked — products that have been smoked for up to several weeks.

  • H/G — Headed and Gutted

  • HGT — Headed, Gutted, Tail-off

  • H/L — Headless

  • High Grading — the discarding of a portion of catch in order to make room for larger or better quality (i.e. higher value) fish.

  • Highly Migratory Species — marine species that migrate long distances during their life cycle. Most tunas are included. Generally accepted scientific views of which species are highly migratory do not always accord with those listed in the Law of the Sea Convention.

  • High Seas — those ocean waters that are not included in the Exclusive Economic Zone, in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a State, or in the archipelagic waters of an archipelagic State.

  • Histamine — an organic substance produced in the tissue of a fish that has not been properly cooled after harvest. Histamine concentrations produce allergic-like reactions 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 Scombridae fishes.

  • Histamines — Chemicals produced by decomposition of flesh in scombroid species (tuna, mahi mahi, mackerel) from poor handling. Not usually fatal in individuals with normal immune systems.

  • HLPD — Headless Peeled Deveined

  • HLSO — Headless Shell-On

  • HOSO — Head-On Shell-On

  • H/O — Head-on

  • Hot-Smoked — seafood exposed to smoke at gradually increasing temperatures (up to 180º F) over a period of 12 to 18 hours, resulting in coagulation of the protein. The product is cooked through, has a dry texture and an intensely smoky flavor.

  • Humpy Salmon — another name for pink salmon.


  • Incidental Catch — fish that are taken that were not targeted, although it is more precisely used to mean fish that are caught and retained on board for landing, even though it was not being targeted. See also Bycatch.

  • Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) — regulatory systems that allocate fishing privileges to individual participants in the fishery. An individual quota may be a percentage or fixed portion of the total allowable catch (TAC) of the fishery and it can be leased, sold or otherwise transferred. Conditions may be attached to the quota and it may be withdrawn if fishing regulations are not complied with.

  • INTL — Interleaved

  • I/L — Interleaved

  • Internal Waters — waters on the landward side of the baseline of the territorial sea, such as river mouths and creeks, ports, harbors and canals.

  • Invertebrates — animals without a backbone. Examples include shellfish, worms and jellyfish.

  • IPB — Individually Poly-Bagged

  • IWP — Individually Poly-Wrapped

  • IQF — Portions or chunks of fish that are Individually Quick Frozen

  • IVP — Individually Vacuum Packed


  • J — Cut — Trimming a fillet removing both the nape and pinbones.

  • Jacks — male Pacific salmon that mature precociously (earlier than other fish in its age-class).

  • Jennys — female Pacific salmon that mature precociously (earlier than other fish in its age-class).

  • Jigging — a method of fishing using lures on a vertical line that is moved up and down, or jigged. It is used to catch squid and may be carried out by hand-operated spools, or by automatic machines. The rotation of the spool as the line is wound creates the jigging action.

  • Jimmy — a male blue crab.

  • Julienne — Strips of fish that are cut into thin strips.


  • Kg, Kilo, Kilogram — Metric weight equivalent to 2.2046 lbs. Imported product is often sold by the kilogram.

  • King Salmon — another name for chinook salmon.

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


  • Laminated Fish Block- Laminated in a plate freezer with perfect corners and edges exactly 7 48 kgs in weight. Generally 140 blocks are on a pallet.

  • Landings — the amount of fish caught by fishermen and brought back to the dock for marketing.

  • Langouste — the French name for the spiny lobster, differentiated from Maine lobsters (Homerus americanus) in that they have no claws. Langoustes are warm water crustaceans that can be found in the South Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and off the coasts of South America, Australia and the West Indies.

  • Lateral Line — a sensory organ along each side of the head and body of fish, probably for detecting vibrations, currents and pressure.

  • Layer Pack — Product, usually fillets, put into a carton in layers with a sheet of polyethylene between each layer of product.

  • Listeria Monocytogenes — a bacterium found in the environment that is resistant to heat, freezing and drying. It has been associated with foods such as raw milk, soft-ripened cheeses, ice cream, raw vegetables, raw and cooked poultry, raw meat and raw and smoked seafood. Listeria can survive and grow at temperatures as low as 5 degrees C (41 degrees F). Acute infection with listeria may result in flu-like symptoms including persistent fever, followed by septicemia, meningitis, encephalitis, and intrauterine or cervical infections in pregnant women. Possible gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Logbooks — the official vessel record of catch and effort data. In many fisheries, logbooks are required.

  • Logs — Dressed headless without the tail or D.W.T.

  • Loin — The boneless portion cut lengthwise from either side of the backbone of a large, round-bodied fish. The back portion of the fillet having had removed the belly section.

  • Longline Fishing — uses a main line that is anchored horizontally above the seabed with baited hooks on branch lines running off at periodic intervals. Longlines are supported in the water by a series of floats. Off the main line are branch lines with baited hooks. Longlines are used for catching demersal and pelagic fish. The quality of the catch is generally good because the fish are not crushed together as they would be in a net, although longlines sometimes capture non-target fish or other marine animals.

  • Long-Term Potential Yield — the maximum long-term average catch that can be achieved from the resource. It is analogous to the concept of maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

  • Lox — Smoked salmon.


  • Maatjes — natural fermented and cured herring which can be eaten raw. They are a Dutch speciality sold in Netherlands as well as in Germany and Belgium.

  • Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA) — a statute enacted in 1976 to establish an Exclusive Economic Zone (see definition above) in which foreign fishing could be controlled, and to set up a conservation and management structure for U.S. fisheries.

  • Mariculture — marine (ocean) aquaculture, farming the sea for plant and animal crops.

  • Marine Fisheries Commission — one of three interstate marine fisheries commissions (Atlantic States, Gulf States, Pacific States) that help state fishery officials to manage fisheries in state territorial marine and estuarine waters.

  • Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) — a statute enacted in 1972 to protect marine mammals and their habitat.

  • Marine Mammals — species that live in marine waters and breathe air directly. They include cetaceans (whales, dolphins porpoises), pinnipeds (seals, walruses, sea lions), sirenians (manatees and dugongs) and sea otters.

  • Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) — the largest long-term average catch or yield that can be taken from a stock or stock complex under prevailing ecological and environmental conditions.

  • Mellanosis — Blackening of the shell in crustacea, especially shrimp and some crabs. Mellanosis will always appear in time, but it happens much more quickly if product has not been properly handled before freezing.

  • Merus — Crab all legs.

  • Mid-water Trawls — (also called pelagic trawls) work in mid-water rather than the sea bottom. Their front net sections are very often made with very large meshes, which herd the fish schools towards the back of the net. They may be towed by one or two boats.

  • Mince Block — Laminated block of mince fish fish pieces that have been passed through a Baader machine or similar mechanical devise to separate out the skin and bone.

  • Molluscs — soft-bodied, usually hard-shelled, animals of the phylum Mollusca and divided into three categories — univalves (abalone, conch, and snails), bivalves (clams, oysters, and mussels), and cephalopods (squid and octopus).

  • Molting — The shedding of the exoskeleton of crustaceans, allowing for new growth.

  • MPA's — Marine Protected Areas.

  • M/T — Metric tonn


  • Nape — the front and thinnest part of a fillet, around the belly.

  • Napecut Fillets — A wide angular cut from the gillcover to the vent eliminating the rib cage, or by slicing it from the fillet.

  • Natural Mortality — the deaths in a fish stock caused by predation, senility, etc., but not fishing.

  • Net Weight — The weight of product less the amount of packing material or glaze.

  • NGO — Non-governmental organization - (NGOs) are non-profit organizations that are neither governmental nor intergovernmental. Generally established to bring together like-minded individuals committed to achieving particular objectives in the governance of fisheries.

  • Nominal Catch — the sum of the catches that are landed (expressed as live weight or equivalents). Nominal catches do not include unreported discards.

  • Norwalk Virus — a virus that can contaminate raw oysters/shellfish, water and ice, and salads, and can be spread by person-to-person contact.

  • Nugget — The belly flap of a fish, usually removed manually from the fillet.


  • Ocean Ranching — a type of aquaculture in which farm-raised smolts are released into the ocean and return to their native rivers, where they may be caught.

  • Ocean Run — Industry term for a pack of random weight and size products. Catchweight, or random weight ctns.

  • Offcuts — Pieces of fish of varying sizes that have been removed during the portioning or filleting operation.

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

  • Opening — a term referring to the beginning of harvesting in a fishery. Openings may last only a matter of hours or up to a number of months.

  • Optimum Yield — defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as "(A) the amount of fish which will provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation, particularly with respect to food production and recreational opportunities, and taking into account the protection of marine ecosystems; (B) is prescribed as such on the basis of the maximum sustainable yield from the fishery, as reduced by any relevant economic, social, or ecological factor; and (C) in the case of an over fished fishery, provides for rebuilding to a level consistent with producing the maximum sustainable yield in such fishery."

  • Organic — food products that are grown using cultural, biological and mechanical methods prior to the use of synthetic, non-agricultural substances to control pests, improve soil quality an/or enhance processing.

  • Organoleptic evaluations — An integral part of Good Manufacturing Practices. The GMPs are an essential pre-requisite for HACCP. The level of spoilage which OE assess's is intertwined with both quality and safety.

  • O-toro — O-toro means big fat and that that's what it is, a piece of well-marbled o-toro looks like top-quality kobe steak. When you dip your sadhimi or sushi into soy sauce you'll even see a glisten of oil left behind.

  • O-toro — O-toro means big fat and that that's what it is, a piece of well-marbled o-toro looks like top-quality kobe steak. When you dip your sadhimi or sushi into soy sauce you'll even see a glisten of oil left behind.

  • Over Capacity — refers to the situation where the fishing capacity of a fleet exceeds the availability of fish to it.

  • Over fishing — defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as "a rate or level of fishing mortality that jeopardizes the capacity of a fishery to produce the maximum sustainable yield on a continuing basis."


  • Parasites — Worms or larvae that may occur occasionally in fish. All processors carefully inspect fish for parasites and cut out any discovered prior to shipment. Dead parasites are harmless but unappetizing.

  • Pair Trawling — trawling by two vessels moving in parallel with a single net towed between them.

  • Pasteurizing — A process (usually heating) to kill most pathogenic organisms, reduce the total microbial flora, and inactivate enzymes (indirectly).

  • P/D — Peeled and deveined tail-off

  • PB/I — Pin Bone In

  • PBI — Pin Bone In

  • PBO — Pin Bone Out

  • PDI — Peeled and deveined and individually frozen shrimp.

  • PDTO — Peeled and deveined tail on.

  • Pelly Amendment — a United States law that allows the President to impose import sanctions against nations that engage in activities deemed by the United States to undermine the effectiveness of international environmental agreements, whether or not the country State is acting illegally.

  • Pelagic — fishes that live in the open sea, such as tunas and sharks, that spend most of their life swimming in the water column between the bottom and the surface.

  • 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.

  • Peritoneum — the membrane lining a fish's belly cavity.

  • Pinbones — Fine bones found along the middle of fillets.

  • Pink Salmon (Humpy) — a salmon species that are most frequently used for canning. The name humpy comes from the large hump that forms on the male's back during spawning.

  • Pinnipeds — marine mammals, of the order Pinnipedia, including seals, sea lions and walruses.

  • Plate Freezing — a process whereby seafood is placed between two hollow metal plates and is frozen by a refrigerant flowing through the hollow plates. Typically, the plates compress the seafood to ensure uniform contact and freezing.

  • PND — Peeled & Deveined

  • Pole-and-Line Fishing — a method of fishing that involves attracting fish to the vessel, using small bait fish. A pole with a barbless lure is lowered into the water that is raised when the fish bite, lifting the fish out of the water and onto the vessel.

  • 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.

  • Post Harvest Processor(PHP) — A certified dealer with the capability to apply a validated post harvest process to reduce the level s of hazards not addressed by controls in the 2003 NSSP Guide for the control of molluscan shellfish chapters XI through XIV.

  • Pots — traps in the form of cages or baskets with one or more openings or entrances. They can be made from various materials (such as wood, wicker, metal rods, etc.). They are usually set at the bottom, with or without bait, singly or in rows, connected by ropes (buoy-lines) to buoys showing their position on the surface.

  • Pound — a storage area for holding live lobster.

  • Prawn — a marketing term sometimes used to refer to large shrimp. It also is used to refer to freshwater shrimp species.

  • Precautionary Principle — a new fisheries management concept that includes taking action to prevent the over-exploitation of a stock before it actually occurs, allowing for a margin of error, and the principle that lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing conservation and management measures where there is a threat of serious or irreversible damage.

  • Precautionary Reference Points — acceptable levels of mortality and recruitment for fisheries. Limit reference points represent the outer limit within which fish stocks can produce maximum sustainable yield. Target reference points, on the other hand, are set at some point lower than the limit reference point and are intended to meet management objectives. Thus, Maximum Sustainable Yield would no longer be a target (a management objective) but an outer limit that should not be breached. The intention is to keep all harvests below MSY and, when the target reference point is exceeded so that a stock falls below or is at risk of falling below the limit reference point, automatic management measures should be initiated to allow the stock to rebuild.

  • Precooked — Portion that has been cooked or partially cooked, so the product requires only heating or minimal cooking prior to consumption.

  • Previously Frozen — seafood has been thawed, "slacked out," or "refreshed".

  • PTO — Peeled Tail On

  • PPV — Peeled Pull Veined

  • PUD — Peeled Undeveined

  • PUDTO — Peeled UnDeveined Tail - On

  • Purse Seines — a wall of netting with a gathered, or "purse," line at the bottom. The net is deployed around the fish and the purse line enables it to be closed like a purse to catch the fish. Purse seines may be very large and are sometimes operated by two boats, although in most cases only one boat is used, with or without a skiff (a small auxiliary boat). Tuna purse seiners are large vessels, equipped to handle very large purse seine nets for tuna.


  • Quotas — a portion of the total allowable catch allocated to an operating unit, such as a vessel class or size or a country.


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

  • Range — the geographical area or areas inhabited by a species.

  • Recruitment — the amount of fish added to a stock each year through reproduction, growth and migration into the fishing area. Also refers to the number of fish entering the spawning stock, or the number of fish from a year class reaching a certain age.

  • Recruitment Over fishing — a type of over fishing that results in greatly reduced spawning stock, a decreased proportion of older fish in the spawning stock, and repeated years of low recruitment.

  • Red Salmon — another name for sockeye salmon.

  • Red Tide — a reddish discoloration of coastal surface waters due to concentrations of certain toxin-producing algae.

  • Red Tide — A reddish-colored carpet of algae that appears below the surface of the sea and is eaten by clams, mussels and oysters. The algae secrete a substance that can be toxic to humans. Fishing grounds are closed when red tide occurs, preventing the harvest of any contaminated shellfish.

  • Reflagging — the practice of vessels changing their registration with a nation to another nation to escape harvest controls. This practice can seriously undermine international conservation efforts. Nations that allow vessels to reflag under their registry are commonly known as "flag-of-convenience" States.

  • Refreshed — seafood that has been frozen then thawed, or "slacked out" for resale. Sometimes called "previously frozen."

  • Relative Abundance — an estimate of actual or absolute abundance, usually stated as some kind of index.

  • Repacker(RP) — A person other than the original certified shucker-packer who repacks shucked shellfish into other containers. A re-packer also may repack and ship shellstock. A repacker shall not shuck shellfish.

  • Reshipper(RS) — A person who purchases shucked shellfish or shellstock from other certified shippers and sells the product without repacking or relabeling to other certified shippers, wholesalers or retailers.

  • Retort Pouch — a flexible package made of layered plastic and metallic-colored foil as an alternative to traditional cans. The layers of a retort pouch may be clear or opaque. Most are "see-through" on the top with foil on the bottom, to avoid confusion with vacuum-sealed products.

  • RHSO — Raw Headless Shell On

  • Rigor Mortis — a temporary stiffening and rigidity of muscles following death. Prolonged rigor mortis helps to maintain fresh-fish quality, because intense bacterial spoilage does not begin until after rigor mortis, with its high acid levels, has passed.

  • Roe — fish eggs.

  • RPD — Raw Peeled & Deveined

  • RPTO — Raw Peeled Tail On

  • Round — refers to whole, ungutted fish or shrimp that has been peeled but not split or deveined.

  • Round Fish — Fish sold just as they come from the water. They must be dressed before cooking.

  • Run — the movement of fish inshore or upstream for spawning.


  • Salad — Crab bricks of shoulder/body meat.

  • Sablefish (Black Cod) (Anoplopoma fimbria) — a groundfish harvested in the North Pacific.

  • Salmon — several species of anadromous fish found in both the Atlantic and Pacific.

  • Salmonella — a bacterium found in water, soil, insects, factory and kitchen surfaces, animal fecal matter, and raw meats, poultry (including eggs) and seafood. Acute symptoms of the illness caused by the Salmonella species include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and fever. Proper cooking destroys salmonella bacteria.

  • Salmonella — A microorganism causing food poisoning in humans, salmonella is very common and is found on meat, poultry and rarely, seafood. Normal cooking destroys salmonella.

  • Salmonid — belonging to the family Salmonidae, which includes the salmon, trout, char, and whitefish.

  • Salted — the process of mixing fish with dry, food-grade salt such that the resulting brine drains away.

  • Sasgunu Grade — Regular fish eaten soon after it is caught.

  • Sashimi — a Japanese dish of raw fish, shellfish, and mollusks served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled vegetables. Sushi is similar but it is served with vinegared rice, and may also include nori seaweed, vegetables, and strips of cooked eggs similar to omelets.

  • Sashimi Grade — Regular fish eaten soon after it is caught.

  • SBT — Southern Bluefin Tuna

  • Scallops — bivalve mollusks belonging to the genera Pecten.

  • Scampi — Scampi is the plural of "Scampo", which is the Italian name for the Norway Lobster. It is also known as the Dublin Bay Prawn especially in the UK while in France it is called langoustine. The fleshy tail of the Norwegian Lobster is closer in both taste and texture to lobster and crayfish than prawn or shrimp in the UK. Scampi refers to a dish of shelled tail meat coated in breadcrumbs or batter deep fried and often served with chips peas and tartar sauce. In the USA Scampi, another name for large shrimp usually about 1 oz or larger, is often the menu name for shrimp. In Italian-American cuisine the term scampi by itself is also the name of a dish of shrimp served in garlic butter and dry white wine served either with bread or over pasta. Sometimes the word scampi is often used to refer to a certain style of preparation and not just the lobster itself for example, shrimp scampi is actually a dish made scampi-style in popular Italian-American cuisine.

  • Scrod — designates smaller-size cod, haddock, pollock or cusk. It is not a species of fish. Sometimes spelled schrod.

  • Scombroid Poisoning (also called Histamine Poisoning) — can occur after ingesting certain fish, particularly tuna or mahi-mahi, that have spoiled. Initial symptoms may include a tingling or burning sensation in the mouth, a rash on the upper body and a drop in blood pressure. Frequently, headaches and itching of the skin are encountered. The symptoms may progress to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and may require hospitalization, particularly in the case of elderly or impaired patients.

  • Scraped Meat — Meat that has been "hand recovered" from the backbone.

  • Sea Lice — small crustaceans (Lepeophtheirus) that attach themselves to salmon and feed on their flesh, producing unsightly blemishes. Efforts by a fish to rub the lice off can lead to infections.

  • Sea Urchin — a round spiny creature found off the coasts of Europe and America. The only edible portion is the roe, or coral, usually eaten raw with fresh lemon juice.

  • Seafood — all marine finfish, crustaceans, mollusks and other forms of aquatic life (including squid, sea turtle, jellyfish, sea cucumber, and sea urchin and the roe of such animals) other than birds or mammals, harvested for human consumption.

  • Seaweed — marine members of the algae phylum. It can be used to make sushi, soups, thicken liquids, and add extra flavor to salads and other dishes.

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

  • Seine Nets — very long nets used to surround fish. They can be operated from the shore (beach seines) or from a vessel.

  • Set Net (Gillnet) — Most have a series of floats at the top, and a series of weights at the bottom that keep the net upright in the water. Fish are caught as they swim into the net. The size of the mesh in the set net determines the size and species of fish caught. Used properly, this method is a selective fishing method.

  • Shank fillet — Fillet where the nugget has been removed.

  • Shatterpack — A box of frozen fish fillets separated by interleaved polyethylene sheets. Dropping the box, "shattering" the pack, can separate fillets.

  • Shelf Life — the expected amount of time a seafood product will remain in high-quality condition. In general, the higher the fat content, the more prone the product is to spoilage and flavor changes.

  • Shellfish — All edible species of oysters, clams, mussels and scallops; either shucked or in the shell, fresh or frozen, whole or in part. Scallops are to be excluded when the final product is the shucked adductor muscle. Only the 1991 ISSC Scallop Committee Report provided a two year period for incorporating whole and roe-on scallops into the NSSP.

  • Shellstock Shipper(SS) — A person who grows harvest, buys or repacks and sells shellstock. They are not authorized to shuck shellfish nor to repack shucked shellfish. A shellstock shipper may also ship shucked shellfish.

  • Shrimp — members of several related crustacean genera including Peneaus and Crangon. Shrimp have a thin, segmented shell covering a tapering body, and a large head.

  • Shrink — natural weight loss of seafood due to seepage or fluids draining from product, also called drip or purge. Also used to describe losses because seafood had to be discarded when it became too old to sell.

  • Shucker Packer(SP) — Aperson who shucks and packs shellfish. A shucker-packer may act as a shellstock shipper or reshipper or may repack shellfish originating from other certified dealers.

  • Silver Salmon — another name for coho salmon.

  • Silverbright — chum salmon that have been harvested at sea rather than in freshwater.

  • Skiff — a small, powered metal boat commonly found on purse seining vessels. The seine skiff is used to assist in the pursing process by initially pulling the net away from the vessel and back again once the fish are encircled. It helps keep the vessel and net from becoming entangled.

  • Skate Wings — the edible portions of the skate. The flesh, when cooked, separates into little fingers of meat and has a distinctive rich, gelatinous texture. The taste is similar to that of scallops.

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

  • Skin-on Fillets- Filletss of fish with the skin left on.

  • Skin-on Portions- Portions of fish with the skin left on.

  • Sknls — Skinless

  • Slacked Out — refers to frozen seafood that has been thawed or refreshed.

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

  • Smolt — young fish ready for life in a saltwater environment.

  • Snap-and-eats — Crab legs that have been scored to allow them to be broken easily during eating.

  • S/O — scale off

  • Sockeye Salmon (Red Salmon) — a small Pacific salmon with red flesh.

  • Sook — a female blue crab.

  • S/P — shatter pack

  • Spawning — the release of eggs.

  • Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) — the total weight of all sexually mature fish a stock. This quantity depends on year class abundance, the exploitation pattern, the rate of growth, fishing and natural mortality rates, the onset of sexual maturity and environmental conditions.

  • Splits — Crab legs that have been split in half length-wise exposing the meat.

  • spp. — a taxonomic abbreviation signifying more than one species.

  • Squid — a cephalopod mollusk of the families Loligo and Ommastrephes. A slender, soft body with no bones and ten tentacles characterizes them. Squid is also known as calamari.

  • Steak — a cross-sectional slice of a fish, usually 1/2 to 2 inches thick and containing a section of the backbone.

  • Steak — Slices of dressed fish smaller than chunks. They yield an edible portion of about 86% to 92%. They are ready for cooking.

  • Stock Fish — The OECD Multilingual Dictionary of Fish and Fish Products states stockfish is gutted, headed, unsplit or split fish such as cod, coalfish, haddock, and hake dried hard without salt in open air.

  • Stock (of fish) — defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as "a species, subspecies, geographical grouping, or other category of fish capable of management as a unit."

  • STP (sodium tripolyphosphate) — an additive used on fish and shrimp to retain moisture.

  • Straddling Stocks — stocks that occur both within and in an area beyond and adjacent to the economic or fishing zones of coastal States.

  • Stuffed Fish — Whole dressed fish which are stuffed with dressing stuffing before cooking.

  • Sulfites — additives used to delay melanosis, or black spot, on raw shrimp.

  • Surimi Seafood — analog shellfish products made from surimi that is thawed, blended with flavorings, stabilizers and colorings and then heat-processed to make fibrous, flake, chunk and composite molded products, most commonly imitating crab meat, lobster tails and shrimp.

  • Surimi — (Japanese for formed fish) is frozen minced fish which is produced from Skinless fishes such as Alaska Pollock, Hake, Pacific Blue Whiting, Threadfin Beam and etc. In Southeast Asia, the overwhelming majority of Surimi Raw Material comes from Threadfin Beam, Big Eye, Ponyfish, Lizard, Yellow Goatfish and Red Mullet.


  • Tagging — a system of marking or attaching a tag to fish so that they can be identified on recapture; used for the study of fish growth, movement, migration and stock structure and size.

  • Tail — the thin, tapered, tail-end portion of fillets, or the meaty tail section of lobster and shrimp.

  • Tails — Fish portion that resembles the tail of a fish, boneless, usually breaded or batter-dipped, raw or precooked. The term is also applied to shrimp and spiny lobster with reference to their meaty tail sections.

  • Target Catch — that portion of the catch which is retained on board and which was the focus of a directed fishery (i.e., it was being targeted).

  • Tempura Batter — A light Japanese-style batter.

  • Territorial Sea — the area of water adjacent to the coast over which the coastal nation is permitted by international law to exercise sovereign jurisdiction. The legal limit on the breadth of the territorial sea has varied at different periods but is now no more than 12 miles.

  • Threatened Species — species not presently in danger of extinction but likely to become so in the foreseeable future.

  • Tickler — a chain that is dragged along the bottom of the ocean in front of a net to scare fish up from the bottom and into the net.

  • Tilapia (Tilapia spp.) — freshwater fish that are commonly grown on farms.

  • Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) — found in deep waters along the east coast of the U.S. and as far south as Venezuela.

  • Tomalley — the green-colored liver of an American lobster (Homerus americanus), found in its head part.

  • Ton — In international seafood sales, usually refers to a metric ton (2,205 lbs.).

  • Total Allowable Catch (TAC) — the total regulated catch from a stock in a given time period, usually a year.

  • Trammel Nets — similar to gillnets, except they have three walls of netting instead of one. The two outer walls are of a larger mesh size than the loosely hung inner netting panel, in which the fish are caught.

  • Transboundary Stock — any fish stock that crosses a jurisdictional boundary, either between two coastal nations, or between a coastal nation's Exclusive Economic Zone and the High Seas.

  • Traps — devices used to catch seafood. Most are box-like cages set on the seabed with a haul-in line and surface float or buoy to mark their position. Some are open-topped netting areas set at the surface.

  • Trawls — towed nets consisting of a cone-shaped body, closed by a bag or codend and extended at the opening by wings. Strong steel cables (called warps) connect the net to the trawler. They can be towed by one or two vessels and may be used on the bottom (bottom trawls) or in mid-water (mid-water or pelagic trawls). In some fisheries, vessels may tow two (or even four) trawls at the same time.

  • Tray Pack — a packaging form in which seafood 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 absorb moisture.

  • Trimmed — fish that have had their fins and tail removed.

  • Triploid — a genetically-developed sterile animal.

  • Tripolyphosphate (also, Sodium Tripoly, STP) — 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."

  • Trolling — a method of fishing using lines with baited hooks that are dragged behind the vessel. Several lines (up to 20) are usually towed at the same time, with the help of outriggers. Weights can be attached to the lines if the target fish is found at a greater depth.

  • Turbot — a flat, diamond-shaped bottom fish harvested in the North Sea and Atlantic.

  • Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) — panels of mesh webbing or metal grids inserted into funnel-shaped shrimp trawl nets. As the nets are towed, shrimp and other small animals pass through the TED and into the codend of the net, the narrow bag at the end of the funnel where the catch is collected. Sea turtles, sharks, and fish too large to get through the panel are deflected out an escape hatch.


  • Upwelling Zones — areas of the oceans where deep-ocean waters rich in nutrients rise to the surface. Although these natural upwelling zones amount to only about 0.1% of the surface of the oceans, the are very fertile, producing 44% of all the fish humans use for food.


  • V-cut — made when removing pinbones from a fish by cutting along both sides of the pinbone strip, leaving most of the nape.

  • Vacum Packed Portion- Portions that have been vacuumed packed often individually.

  • Vein — the intestinal tract of a shrimp along the dorsal side of the tail. Lobster tails also have veins.

  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus — a bacterium found in estuarine and marine waters and in certain fish and shellfish. It can cause gastroenteritis resulting in diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills.

  • Vibrio vulnificus — a bacterium found in ocean waters, sediment, plankton, and shellfish. Can be contracted through swimming with open wounds or by eating raw shellfish. Usually causes gastroenteritis in healthy individuals but can lead to septicemia in those with compromised immune systems.

  • Virtual Population Analysis (or Cohort Analysis) — used by fishery scientists to estimate the size of fish stocks.

  • Viscera — internal organs. Eviscerated means gutted.


  • Wheels — Straight cuts across a whole fish.

  • Whole Fish — Fish sold just as they come from the water, also called landed or round weight. They must be dressed before cooking.

  • W/R — Whole round



  • Yield — The percentage of a fish that is edible or sellable.

  • Year Class (or Cohort) — the fish in a stock born in the same year.