Buying fresh seafood can be confusing enough without getting hung up on unfamiliar seafood importers and exporters' terminology. Whether you're in charge of buying wholesale fish for your food business or you are new to the wholesale seafood business in general, it's easy to become confused by lingo like "black spot," "FOB" and "Porgy." Confusion can lead to poor buying choices and wasted money--something you definitely want to avoid.
Therefore, it's essential to understand seafood importers and exporters key terms. This terminology may be broken down into three broad categories. These are:
1. General seafood importer and exporter industry terms,
2. Seafood import and export terms regarding quality,
3. And fish names all professional fish buyers should become familiar with.
Learn the general lingo of fish importers and exportersAs with any industry, importers and exporters of seafood have their own lingo that can be confusing for those not familiar with the field. Some of these terms include "FOB" ("free on board," usually with a location after it, meaning charges beyond the termination point are paid by the buyer), "green sheet" (the National Marine Fisheries Service's Market News Reports) and "ocean run" (selling seafood of random weight and size as a pack).
Understand fish exporter and exporter quality-related termsImporters and exporters use many special terms to describe the condition or quality of seafood. Terms related to quality include "belly burn" (when a fish's rib bones poke into its belly, often indicating the fish wasn't fresh when processed), "black spot" (or "melanosis," when a darkening may be found between a shrimp's tail and shell when it begins to rot), "pasteurize" (heating the food enough to kill most bacteria) and "slacked out" (seafood that's been frozen and thawed).
Know seafood names used in fish imports and exportsYou probably already know what cod and swordfish are, but there are some less familiar types of seafood you may not be familiar with. For instance, have you heard of "ahi" (yellowfin tuna)? What about croaker or John Dory (both from the Atlantic)? Or the many names for silver snapper (including Porgy, Bream, scup and fair maid)? Take time now to become familiar with these types of seafood and you'll save yourself embarrassment and frustration later.
- When buying from wholesale fishing companies, sometimes fresh isn't best. Seafood that isn't properly handled and immediately sold may actually be of poorer quality than seafood that's "flash," or instantly, frozen on the ship.