A steelhead is a salmon??

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Snake, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

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    I took some out-of-town friends to a popular restaurant in Pike Place Market last night, and one of the menu items was "wild salmon". I ordered it, and asked the waitress to please find out what kind of salmon it was, and where it was from. When she brought our food out, she told me it was "steelhead salmon".

    I said "Excuse me? What do you mean?" I flaked some of the flesh off, and was afraid I already knew the answer. She said "Steelhead salmon" again. "That's what kind of salmon it is."

    I tried to explain to her that steelhead and salmon are very different fish, and if it was wild steelhead, they should advertise it as such, because I wouldn't have ordered it. She offered to replace it with another item, but I was actually starting to get a little bit pissed off. :mad:

    A manager came out to ask what the problem was. He, too, said salmon and steelhead are the same thing, because "four years ago the "WDEF" ruled they were the same species".

    I told him I didn't think that was correct, and asked him where the fish came from. He pointed towards the Market, and said "Fresh today, from the Quinalts". I told him I thought it was wrong to advertise it as salmon, and I wouldn't patronize a business that supports the killing of wild steelhead. :mad::mad:

    I probably shouldn't have gotten so worked up about it, but the whole incident really soured my mood for the rest of the evening. The ironic thing is, I had taken one of my weekend guests/friends for a float on the Snoqualmie that morning, chasing steelhead. (no fish swum :()

    So anyway, was I wrong? Is a steelhead a salmon?? Can it be legally be advertised as such?? :confused:
     
  2. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Steelhead are trout. Trout and salmon, as well as char, whitefish, and grayling, are salmonids, of the family Salmonidae. Your waitress and manager are ignorant, as are most people who aren't fish freaks, about fish species. Your description of them makes it appear that they don't know that there are several species of salmon and that they are not all the same.

    BTW, whoever the WDEF is, doesn't make rulings about steelhead and salmon taxonomy or nomenclature anytime, let alone four years ago. The American Fisheries Society in 1989 did however change the Latin scientific name of steelhead from Salmon gardnerii to Oncorynchus mykiss. Steelhead did not become a different species in the process however. Only God or evolution or genetic engineering can do that.

    Steelhead from the Quinault are mostly hatchery fish, at least until about February. So it's unlikely that you were served wild steelhead. Still, if you aren't keen on the notion of commercial fishing for steelhead, regardless of whether they are hatchery or wild, it's worthwhile letting a restaurant know that you won't eat there and will encourage others not to either.

    Sg
     
  3. rick matney

    rick matney Active Member

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    Not even close to the same. Good for you. Not to rag on the natives, but the comercial indigenous fishing operations are killing our wild steelhead populations, especially in BC. :mad:
     
  4. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    those people have no idea what they're talking about. pisses me off when resturaunt owners sell seafood without any knowledge of the resource they're impacting
     
  5. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    A number of years ago steelhead, as well as rainbow trout (which are genetically indistinguishable from steelhead) and cutthroat were reclassified from the genus Salmo which includes the Atlantic salmon (S. salar) and the brown trout (S. trutta) to the genus Oncorhynchus, the genus of the Pacific salmons. Thus the steelhead/rainbow (formerly S. gairdneri) became O. mykiss and the cutthroat (formerly S. clarki) became O. clarki. The decision was made to reclassify these fish because of their relatively closer morphological and genetic relationship to the Pacific salmons than to the brown trout and Atlantic salmon. So, yes, in the eyes of the taxonomist, steelhead/rainbow and cutthroat are Pacific salmons.
     
  6. Citori

    Citori Piscatorial Engineer

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    I vote good for you. Based on replies, you should now be confident that steelhead are trout, and Salmon are salmon. Wild steelhead should not be killed - period. Color me steelhead nazi if you wish...

    I would recommend going a step further and letting them know that you would be sharing your information with 3918 (by today's count) other members of the fly fishing community along with your recommendation that they do not patronize that particular establishment. Please, in the interest of public service, let us know the name of the restaurant in question.

    Preston - while your information may well be correct and accurate, I refuse to accept it, and plan to stubbornly hold on to my apparently outdated perception, along with the belief that Pluto is still a planet. And further, it matters not to me what you call them, S. gairdneri or O. mykiss, anyone who kills a wild one should be flogged. my $.02
     
  7. halcyon

    halcyon Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!

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    Preston,

    Just another example proving the adage "don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up" :rofl::rofl:

    My question is: in light of the fact that many Pacific Salmon stocks are endangered or near extinct or threatened, why would anyone order any wild salmon??

    Regards,
     
  8. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

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    I sent an e-mail to the owner of the restaurant, along with a link to this thread.

    If it was just a matter of general cluelessness, and he indicates a heightened awareness and concern for the problem, and a willingness to address it, I'm not going to reveal the name.

    If however, I don't get a timely response, or it looks like he doesn't give a rat's ass about it, I'll gladly post it so you can all make your own decision about whether to give him your money.

    I'll keep y'all posted on how it develops........
     
  9. Itchy Dog

    Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

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    Maybe they'll start advertising it as Hatchery Reared Steelhead Salmon so as to not ruffle the feathers of those who oppose the C&K of wild steel!

    But seriously, good work, Snake- you may be a catalyst for change.
     
  10. Jason Decker

    Jason Decker Active Member

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    What restuarant was it ?
     
  11. kodiaksalmon

    kodiaksalmon Jeff B.

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    Ha, me too.

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  12. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

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    Nice Tatt, Jeff! :thumb: (even if it is taxonomically outdated......:rofl::rolleyes:)

    PM sent.

    Good question. Maybe I shouldn't have ordered the 'wild salmon' in the first place. Kinda hypocritical, myself, if parsed out to the logical end conclusion. But it seems like wild salmon stocks are a whole lot better than wild steel. :hmmm:

    My main problem was the lack of full disclosure. I felt like I was purposefully duped.
     
  13. g_smolt

    g_smolt Recreational User

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    Taken as a percentage of a whole, very few salmon stocks are threatened.

    Taken as a percentage of a whole, most salmon fisheries are for healthy, well managed stocks.

    The alternative is to eat farmed, or none at all.

    I myself wouldn't touch farmed salmon, knowing what goes into them. Even if they weren't considered environmental pollutants, I wouldn't eat them.

    IMHO, and YMMV,
    Mark
     
  14. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    They may belong to the same genus but they are different species. A genus often contains many individual species. For instance: tigers, leopards and lions belong to the same genus but I doubt many people would say they are the same animal. Calling a leopard a lion is the same as calling a steelhead/rainbow trout a salmon.

    I would ask him if he would list sockeye salmon on the menu but serve rainbow trout instead - that is essentially what he is doing. I will never patronize a restaurant that serves wild steelhead and if I felt a restaurant was trying to hide something, I’d figure out to whom I could report it.
     
  15. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    There are many wild salmon stocks that are robust and are harvested intensely. The bristol bay sockeye fishery is a prime example of proper management of a salmon resource. The impact of eating a wild salmon caught from a sustainably harvested stock is trivial, especially when compared to the negative impacts of Atlantic Salmon net pen operations. I only eat wild salmon, but I refuse unconditionally to harvest wild steelhead. Hatchery brats are another story...
     
  16. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    I suspected it is probably illegal to label or call a steelhead a salmon, and it appears that it is illegal (though I'm no lawyer). Notice the defintion of 'salmon' by Washington state law specifically excludes 'game fish' which would include steelhead and any other trout.

    RCW 69.04.932
    Salmon labeling — Definitions.


    Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout RCW 69.04.933 through 69.04.935.

    (1) "Salmon" means all species of the genus Oncorhynchus, except those classified as game fish in Title 77 RCW, and includes:


    SCIENTIFIC NAME COMMON NAME
    Oncorhynchus tshawytscha Chinook salmon or king salmon
    Oncorhynchus kisutch Coho salmon or silver salmon
    Oncorhynchus keta Chum salmon
    Oncorhynchus gorbuscha Pink salmon
    Oncorhynchus nerka Sockeye salmon
    Salmo salar (in other than Atlantic salmon
    its landlocked form)

    (2) "Commercially caught" means salmon harvested by commercial fishers.

    RCW 69.04.933
    Salmon labeling — Identification of species — Exceptions — Penalty.


    With the exception of a commercial fisher engaged in sales of fish to a fish buyer, no person may sell at wholesale or retail any fresh or frozen salmon food fish or cultured aquatic salmon without identifying the species of salmon by its common name to the buyer at the point of sale such that the buyer can make an informed decision in purchasing. A person knowingly violating this section is guilty of misbranding under this chapter. A person who receives misleading or erroneous information about the species of salmon and subsequently inaccurately identifies salmon shall not be guilty of misbranding. This section shall not apply to salmon that is minced, pulverized, coated with batter, or breaded.
     
  17. Nick Andrews

    Nick Andrews New Member

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    What is the restaurants name?

    Also would you want the restaurant to disclose whether the "Wild Salmon" came from a hatchery run or a truly Wild run of salmon?
     
  18. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

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    PM sent.

    I don't want to go public until I find out what the deal is.

    I hope so........
     
  19. Buck

    Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

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    I mean this nicely. You should have let it go. The waiter was just passing the info along. She/he obviously didn't know anything about the fish. The fish was probably a wild salmon caught and taken to the market. Sometime it's good to inform people about the dangers these wild fish endure and the possible fate that awaits them, but sometimes it's better to choose that time. I personally, the moment the waiter said "steelhead salmon" would have just eaten it knowing that the chances are the fish was just a salmon. I'm sorry you spoiled you dining experience, sounds like it would have been a nice time.
    B.
     
  20. LBC

    LBC nymphing beads with a spey pole.

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