Seafood is any form of sea life regarded as food by humans. Seafood prominently includes fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Historically, sea mammals such as whales and dolphins have been consumed as food, though that happens to a lesser extent in modern times. Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are widely eaten as seafood around the world, especially in Asia (see the category of sea vegetables). In North America, although not generally in the United Kingdom, the term “seafood” is extended to fresh water organisms eaten by humans, so all edible aquatic life may be referred to as seafood. For the sake of completeness, this article includes all edible aquatic life.
The harvesting of wild seafood is usually known as fishing or hunting, and the cultivation and farming of seafood is known as aquaculture, or fish farming in the case of fish. Seafood is often distinguished from meat, although it is still animal and is excluded in a strict vegetarian diet. Seafood is an important source of protein in many diets around the world, especially in coastal areas.
Most of the seafood harvest is consumed by humans, but a significant proportion is used as fish food to farm other fish or rear farm animal. Some seafoods (kelp) are used as food for other plants (fertilizer). In these ways, seafoods are indirectly used to produce further food for human consumption. Products, such as fish oil and spirulina tablets are also extracted from seafoods. Some seafood is feed to aquarium fish, or used to feed domestic pets, such as cats, and a small proportion is used in medicine, or is used industrially for non-food purposes (leather).
TYPES OF SEAFOOD
Fresh Water Fish
Salt Water Fish
* Alaskan Halibut
* Black Cod (see Sablefish)
Mollusks are invertebrates with soft bodies that are not segmented like crustaceans. Bivalves and gastropods are protected by a calcareous shell which grows as the mollusk grows. Cephalopods are not protected by a shell.
Bivalves sometimes referred to as clams, have a protective shell in two hinged parts. A valve is the name used for the protective shell of a bivalve, so bivalve literally means two shells. Important seafood bivalves include oysters, scallops, mussels and cockles. Most of these are filter feeders which bury themselves in sediment on the seabed where they are safe from predation. Others lie on the sea floor or attach themselves to rocks or other hard surfaces.
Gastropods also known as sea snails, are univalves which means they have a protective shell that is in a single piece. Gastropod literally means stomach-foot, because they appear to crawl on their stomachs.
Cephalopods are not protected with a shell. Cephalopod literally means head-foots, because they have limbs which appear to issue from their head. They have excellent vision and high intelligence. Cephalopods propel themselves with a water jet and lay down “smoke screens” with ink. Examples are octopus, squid and cuttlefish. They are eaten in many cultures. Depending on the species, the arms and sometimes other body parts are prepared in various ways.
Crustaceans are invertebrates with segmented bodies protected by hard crusts (shells or exoskeletons), usually made of chitin and structured somewhat like a knight’s armor. The shells do not grow, and must periodically be shed or moulted. Usually two legs or limbs issue from each segment. Most commercial crustaceans are decapods, that is they have ten legs, and have compound eyes set on stalks.
* Stone Crab
* Snow Crab