Seafood Terms

A market stall offering a variety of fresh raw seafood


This resource page contains common terms for commercial fishing, aquaculture, seafood processing, and buying:

Product Glossary:

  • Bass: There are both freshwater and marine species of Bass, but they are known for their dark and silver bodies, firm flesh, as well as delicate flavor.
  • Bronzini: Also known as the Mediterranean Seabass, this fish tastes surprisingly like red snapper and is similar in appearance and size to a medium-sized trout.
  • Calamari: Another term for squid, or a mollusk related to the cuttlefish and octopus.
  • Catfish: A freshwater or marine fish with whisker-like barbels around the mouth.
  • Clams: Bivalve mollusks that live as infauna, or partially buried in the sand of the ocean floor.
  • Cod: Common name for a large marine fish with a small barbel on the chin. Related to haddock.
  • Conch: Tropical marine mollusk with a spiral shell. Can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in chowders, fritters, and gumbos. Indigenous to the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Florida, Grenada, and elsewhere.
  • Crab: Crustaceans with a broad carapace, stalked eyes, and five pairs of legs. There are many species, but the most popular kinds include Alaskan king crab, Canadian snow crab, and Dungeness crab.
  • Crawfish: Also known as crawdads, crayfish, or mudbugs. These small crustaceans resemble lobsters.
  • Flounder: A marine flatfish species found at the bottom of oceans and some estuaries.
  • Grouper: A large heavy-bodied fish of the sea bass family. Sweet and mild flavor tastes like bass or halibut.
  • Haddock: A silvery-gray bottom-dwelling fish found in North Atlantic coastal waters, related to the cod.
  • Lobster: General term for large marine crustaceans that have long bodies, muscular tails, and tend to live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws.
  • Mackerel: A migratory surface-dwelling predatory fish with oily flesh, should be eaten on the day of capture.
  • Mussels: Common name for another family of bivalve mollusks from saltwater and freshwater habitats.
  • Octopus: A cephalopod with eight sucker-bearing arms, a soft saclike body, and strong beak-like jaws.
  • Oysters: Common term for a number of different saltwater bivalve mollusks that live in marine or brackish habitats. Can be consumed raw, cooked, or on the half shell.
  • Porgies: Bottom-dwelling predatory fish that live in shallow temperate marine waters.
  • Salmon: Freshwater species of fish that are found in rivers that flow into the North Atlantic Ocean.
  • Sardines: Also known as pilchards, oily fish that are small in size but rich in unsaturated fat and nutrients.
  • Scallops: Common name for species of saltwater clams or marine bivalve mollusks with fan-shaped shells. The name can also be applied to the adductor muscle that is eaten, or the round, fleshy meat within.
  • Shrimp: General term for decapod crustaceans with elongated bodies and ten legs.
  • Snapper: There are a wide variety of Snapper species, but they are known for a pinkish-red appearance, firm flesh, and a mild, nutty flavor. Snappers average from four to six pounds each.
  • Squid: An elongated, fast-swimming cephalopod mollusk with ten arms. Typically served as calamari.
  • Tilapia: Common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish. Mainly freshwater fish that inhabit shallow streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes, or sometimes brackish habitats.
  • Trout: Freshwater fish of the salmon family with white, pink, or orange flesh and a delicate flavor.

Industry Terms:

  • Boned: All primary bones have been removed, although some secondary bones may remain.
  • Boneless Fillet: Fillets from which the pin bones have been removed.
  • Breaded: Any product covered in liquid dip, bread crumbs, and seasonings to retain moisture.
  • Cello Pack: Packages or block-shaped wraps of frozen fillets (traditionally from North Atlantic ground fish species such as cod and haddock) wrapped in plastic cellophane or polyethylene film.
  • Cholesterol: Fat-like substance classified as a lipid, which is vital to life and is found in all cell membranes.
  • Cluster: Group of legs and a claw from one side of a crab with the connecting body meat still attached.
  • Curing: Using salt or sugar to draw moisture from the flesh of fish and enhance flavor.
  • Devein: To remove the vein, or digestive tract, from the tail section of a crustacean.
  • Dressed: Completely cleaned with the head on, ready for stuffing and can cook in one piece.
  • Farm-Raised: Related to aquaculture, seafood is stocked and monitored in vast pens. Often submerged in ponds, lakes and salt water, or any controlled, fertile growing environment.
  • Fresh: Refers only to product that is raw and has never been frozen or heated (under FDA rules).
  • Pasteurizing: A process by which most pathogenic organisms are killed to reduce the total microbial flora and inactive enzymes.
  • Pin Bones: Fine bones found along the middle of fish fillets.
  • Pre-cooked: Portion that has been cooked or partially cooked, so that the product requires only heating or minimal cooking prior to consumption.
  • Skinned: Some species of fish are skinned rather than dressed.
  • Smoked: Cured by smoke produced from slowly burning wood or some other material.
  • Sushi Grade: Term for any fresh seafood that is processed using a parasite destruction guarantee.
  • Wild  Caught: Seafood that has been captured in its natural environment. These fish and shellfish have a natural life cycle and feed on a natural marine diet.
  • Yield: The percentage of a fish that is edible or sellable.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Wholey’s today.