Is Fish Considered Seafood? Find Out Here!

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Seafood is an integral part of the culinary world, enjoyed by people all over the globe. It’s healthy, delicious and comes in countless varieties. But have you ever wondered what exactly falls under the category of seafood?

When we think of seafood, fish is often one of the first things that come to mind. But is every type of fish considered seafood or are there certain criteria that need to be met? This is a question that has left many people scratching their heads.

“Fish are whimsical creatures, demanding attention, respect, admiration-and often succeeding in getting it.” -John Gierach

In this article, we aim to clear up any confusion surrounding this topic and answer the question, “Is Fish Considered Seafood?” by exploring various aspects of seafood definitions and classifications. We’ll delve into specific characteristics that set seafood apart from other types of animal protein and highlight some considerations that might affect how fish fits into this classification.

Whether you’re a chef looking to expand your knowledge about seafood dishes, or just a curious food enthusiast, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about whether or not fish considered seafood.

The Definition of Seafood

Seafood is a term used to describe any edible aquatic creature, including fish and shellfish. It is primarily consumed for its nutritional content and culinary flavor.

The Widely Accepted Meaning of Seafood

When most people think of seafood, they typically picture fish on their plates. However, the definition of seafood actually includes all forms of marine life, such as crustaceans (shrimp, crab, lobster), mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops, squid) and sea vegetables like seaweed.

While many seafood dishes are enjoyed around the world, not everyone agrees on what constitutes a “seafood delicacy.” For instance, some regions enjoy eating raw octopus or fermented skate, while others find these dishes off-putting or even dangerous to consume.

Regardless of personal preference, seafood plays an important role in many global food cultures. The United Nations reports that over three billion people rely on seafood as a primary source of protein, while fishing and aquaculture provide jobs for millions worldwide.

The Origin of the Term “Seafood”

The word “seafood” first appeared in English language dictionaries in the early 1800s, but its roots date back centuries before this time. Generally speaking, the term denotes creatures found in saltwater environments, as opposed to freshwater sources like rivers or lakes.

It’s interesting to note that in France, seafood translates to “fruit de mer,” or “fruit of the sea.” This romantic name emphasizes the idea of seafood as a bountiful gift from nature’s bounty rather than simply something to eat.

In other languages, similar whimsical names apply. In Korea, people refer to various types of sashimi as “meat from swimming angels.” While this may sound a bit fanciful to Western ears, it underscores the idea of seafood as something special and worth treasuring.

Despite variations across cultures, one thing is clear: seafood holds a vital place in global food traditions, providing nourishment and flavor to people all over the world.

“Fish, to taste right, must swim three times – in water, in butter, and in wine.” -Polish proverb

The Difference Between Fish and Seafood

The Definition of Fish

Fish is a term used to describe aquatic animals that are harvested for consumption, either from freshwater or saltwater. They can be found in oceans, rivers, lakes, streams, and other bodies of water.

According to the food industry, fish must contain fins, gills, and a backbone in order to qualify as fish. This definition excludes shellfish such as clams, oysters, and shrimp, which do not have a backbone but are still classified as seafood.

“Fish flesh is an excellent source of high-quality protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.”

The Definition of Seafood

Seafood refers to any type of edible marine animal or plant, including fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, seaweed, and other sea vegetables. It includes both saltwater and freshwater species, as well as those grown in aquaculture farms.

Although most seafood comes from the ocean, some types, like catfish, trout and tilapia, come from inland bodies of fresh water. The term “seafood” is often used interchangeably with “fish,” but it actually has a broader meaning that encompasses a more diverse range of aquatic species.

“Eating seafood regularly can provide numerous health benefits, such as improving brain function, reducing inflammation, and promoting heart health.”

The Distinction Between Fish and Seafood

While all fish are considered seafood, not all seafood is considered fish. As mentioned earlier, seafood also includes shellfish, crustaceans, and other sea creatures that are not classified as fish.

Another difference between fish and seafood is the way they are commonly prepared. Fish is often grilled, baked, or fried, while shellfish like shrimp and lobster are usually boiled or steamed. Different types of seafood require different cooking methods, depending on their texture and type.

Some people consider fish a healthier option than other types of seafood because it typically contains lower levels of mercury, an environmental toxin that can accumulate in certain types of sea creatures. However, this depends on the specific species of fish and how it has been harvested and processed.

“Consuming moderate amounts of seafood each week can provide numerous health benefits, but care should be taken to avoid consuming too much mercury or other harmful contaminants present in some types of seafood.”
In conclusion, while fish is considered a type of seafood, not all seafood is classified as fish. Seafood includes a broader range of edible marine animals and plants, such as shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, and seaweed. While both fish and seafood have their health benefits, it’s important to choose wisely and consume them in moderation to avoid any potential risks associated with toxins or contaminants.

Types of Fish That Are Considered Seafood

Fish is a popular food worldwide, and different types of fish are used as seafood. Seafood refers to edible marine creatures like fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. Here, we will discuss some of the most commonly consumed fish that are considered seafood.


Salmon is a type of oily fish that lives in cold water and has a distinctive pink-colored flesh. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, making it one of the healthiest foods you can find on the seafood menu. Most salmon sold commercially come from farms, but wild salmon is also available. In addition to its great taste, salmon is versatile and can be grilled, baked, or smoked.

“Salmon is an incredible source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.” -Samantha Cassetty, R.D.


Tuna is another staple seafood enjoyed all over the world. There are several species of tuna, with the most common being bluefin, yellowfin, skipjack, and albacore. Tuna is generally low in fat and calories and high in protein, making it an excellent choice for those watching their weight. As with salmon, there are both farmed and wild-caught varieties available, but it remains essential to source sustainably caught tuna to minimize environmental damage.

“Tuna contains anti-inflammatory compounds and a variety of vitamins and minerals.” -Julie Upton, M.S., R.D.N., co-founder of Appetite for Health


Shrimp is a small, flavorful shellfish that is easy to cook and often served in restaurants as scampi, cocktails, or fried. They are low in calories, high in protein and other essential nutrients like calcium and iron. Shrimp is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

“Shrimp contains antioxidants such as astaxanthin which help protect against oxidative stress.” – Dr. Emilia Javorsky


Crab meat is sweet, tender, and has a mild taste that pairs well with pasta or used to create dips, salads, and soups. There are many types of crab, including blue crabs, snow crabs, and Dungeness crabs. One of the best things about crab meat is it’s nutrient-rich, containing magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus; these minerals help build strong bones and teeth and maintain healthy cells. Crab also has selenium, which helps boost your immune system.

“Crab meat is not only delicious but packed with beneficial healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals.” -Kathleen Alleaume, Nutritionist & Dietitian

Fish is generally considered seafood, particularly when talking about marine creatures eaten by humans. The most commonly consumed seafood includes salmon, tuna, shrimp, and crab, each having unique health benefits and culinary value. When indulging in all seafood options available, always seek guidance on choosing fresher and sustainable sources and prepare them following healthier cooking methods to improve their nutritional value further.

The Nutritional Value of Seafood

Seafood is a broad category that encompasses all edible marine life, including fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. It’s packed with nutrients and considered one of the healthiest sources of protein available. But what makes seafood so nutritious? Let’s explore:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are essential fats that our bodies cannot produce on their own, meaning we can only obtain them through food. These fats play a crucial role in brain function, reducing inflammation throughout the body, and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are key for normal development and may play a crucial role in the prevention and treatment of depression.” -Harvard Health Publishing

Eating fish high in omega-3s just twice a week has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease mortality by 36%. Furthermore, studies suggest that omega-3s may play a role in managing other chronic diseases such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and even some cancers.


Besides being rich in omega-3s, seafood is also an excellent source of high-quality protein. A three-ounce serving of cooked salmon contains approximately 22 grams of protein, while the same amount of canned tuna provides around 20 grams. This makes fish an ideal choice for anyone looking to increase their protein intake without adding excess calories or unhealthy fats to their diet.

“Fish is particularly good at providing high-quality protein because it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle and repair tissue.” -Mayo Clinic

Not only does protein in seafood help to build and repair muscle tissue, but it also helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer periods. This can be incredibly beneficial for individuals looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Vitamins and Minerals

Seafood is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function correctly. For example:

  • Shellfish like oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops are rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, which helps keep our nerve and blood cells healthy.
  • Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are loaded with vitamin D, which plays a crucial role in bone health, immune function, and reducing inflammation throughout the body.
  • Cod, haddock, and other white fish varieties contain niacin and phosphorus, both of which are vital for maintaining strong bones and teeth.

Low in Saturated Fat

Unlike many meat sources, seafood is naturally low in saturated fat and calories. Therefore, consuming seafood regularly may help to lower your risk of heart disease, hypertension, and high cholesterol levels. Additionally, by replacing fatty animal proteins with fish-based meals, you may also see improvements in weight management and intestinal health.

“Replacing a burger patty (80% lean) with a pre-cooked wild salmon fillet will save you more than nine grams of saturated fat.” -The Washington Post

Incorporating seafood into your diet just a few times per week has been linked to numerous health benefits and can support overall wellness. Whether it’s cooked fresh at home or enjoyed as sushi at your favorite restaurant, seafood provides us with delicious and nutritious options that benefit our health and well-being.

The Environmental Impact of Seafood Consumption

Seafood is a popular food item consumed all around the world. It refers to any sea animal that humans consider as food, including fish, shellfish, and other marine life such as seaweed. Although seafood is considered a healthy source of nutrition, there are many environmental consequences associated with its consumption. Here are some reasons why:


Overfishing occurs when catch rates are higher than the natural reproduction rate of species. This leads to a decline in fish populations, which can affect whole ecosystems. Currently, about 31% of our global fish stocks are overfished, meaning we are taking more fish out of the ocean than they can reproduce.

This could eventually lead to certain fish species becoming extinct or having their numbers reduced so severely that it affects not just fishing industries but also the wider ecosystem. For example, according to Greenpeace, there has been a 90% decrease in bluefin tuna populations since the 1970s due to overfishing and illegal fishing practices in countries like Japan.


Bycatch refers to the incidental capture of non-target species during fishing operations. Many nets used for catching fish cannot distinguish between the intended target and other marine creatures swimming nearby, leading to unintended captures of unwanted animals. These include turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, seabirds, and even young fish that have not yet reached reproductive age.

In fact, bycatch accounts for roughly one-quarter of the global marine catch, amounting to millions of tons of unintentionally captured wildlife every year. Some animal populations are particularly vulnerable to bycatch, such as the critically endangered vaquita porpoise found only in Mexico’s Gulf of California.


Aquaculture is the practice of farming fish and other aquatic organisms, such as mollusks and crustaceans, in tanks or ponds. While aquaculture can help reduce pressures on wild fisheries, it also poses environmental problems of its own.

Intensive fish farms produce unnatural concentrations of waste that pollute nearby waters with nitrogen and phosphorous compounds. This leads to algal blooms and oxygen depletion, killing off vast numbers of marine life and negatively impacting local ecosystems. Furthermore, farmed fish require a diet rich in protein derived from small wild fish species, leading to further strain on wild populations.

Sustainable Seafood Options

The good news is that we have choices when it comes to choosing seafood that has less impact on the environment. When buying seafood, look for labels like “Marine Stewardship Council” which indicate that the product was caught using sustainable methods. This means fishing operations are managed responsibly, ensuring healthy ocean ecosystems that can continue to provide food and livelihoods in the future. Alternatively, opt for herbivorous fishes which have lower levels of contaminants. For example, sardines, anchovies and mackerel are often considered safe options due to their low mercury content.

“The answers to restoring the world’s oceans may seem complex at first glance but lead back to much simpler alternatives — consuming sustainably sourced fish,” said Christina Hicks, an ecologist at Lancaster University.

Popular Seafood Dishes From Around the World


Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that has become popular all over the world. Made with vinegared rice, seafood (often raw fish), and vegetables, sushi comes in various forms such as nigiri, maki, temaki, and more. With its delicate and unique flavors, sushi is considered one of the best seafood delicacies worldwide.

Many people wonder if fish is considered seafood. The answer to this question lies in the definition of seafood. According to Oxford Languages, “Seafood refers to any sea life that is regarded as food by humans.” Thus, fish is just one type of seafood among crustaceans like shrimp, lobster, and crab, cephalopods like octopus and squid, and many others.

“Sushi is not just food; it’s an experience that you would want to cherish forever.”


Paella is a Spanish rice dish often made on special occasions or festivals. While there are different varieties of paella based on the region and ingredients used, seafood paella remains the favorite among them. Loaded with fresh seafood like shrimp, clams, and mussels along with chicken and chorizo, this hearty dish originates from Valencia and has been enjoyed for centuries.

The health benefits of eating seafood cannot be overstated. Packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, consuming seafood can promote heart health, improve brain function, boost the immune system, and fight inflammation.

“Paella may take some time to cook, but the end result is worth every minute spent waiting.”

Other popular seafood dishes from around the world include Lobster Thermidor from France, Fish and Chips from England, Lobster Bisque from America, Oysters Rockefeller from New Orleans, and many more. From fancy restaurants to street vendors, seafood is enjoyed globally in various forms, making it a significant contributor to the world’s food culture.

Whether you’re an adventurous foodie or someone who prefers traditional dishes, there’s always a seafood delicacy waiting for you to savor. So why not try exploring different cuisines and flavors? Who knows, you might discover your new favorite seafood dish!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is fish classified as seafood?

Yes, fish is classified as seafood. Seafood refers to any edible animal or plant that lives in the sea or freshwater bodies. Fish are vertebrates that live in water and are a primary source of seafood. They are commonly consumed due to their high nutritional value and taste. Other seafood items include crustaceans, mollusks, and seaweed. Fish are considered a delicacy and a staple food in many cultures, making them a vital part of the seafood industry.

What is the definition of seafood?

Seafood refers to any edible animal or plant that lives in the sea or freshwater bodies. It includes a wide variety of food items, including fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and seaweed. Seafood is rich in nutrients such as Omega-3, protein, and vitamins, making it a healthy food choice. The seafood industry is a significant source of employment, with millions of people worldwide engaged in fishing, harvesting, processing, and selling seafood. Seafood is an essential part of many cuisines and is enjoyed by people of all ages and cultures.

Do all types of fish fall under the category of seafood?

Yes, all types of fish fall under the category of seafood. Fish are vertebrates that live in water and are a primary source of seafood. There are many different types of fish, each with its distinct taste, texture, and nutritional value. Some popular types of fish include salmon, tuna, trout, and cod. Fish are commonly consumed due to their high nutritional value and taste. They are also a vital part of the seafood industry, which provides employment to millions of people worldwide.

What are some examples of seafood that are not fish?

Some examples of seafood that are not fish include crustaceans, mollusks, and seaweed. Crustaceans include crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, while mollusks include clams, oysters, and mussels. Seaweed is a type of marine plant that is commonly eaten in many Asian countries. These seafood items are rich in nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals and are enjoyed by people worldwide. They are also a significant source of employment for millions of people in the seafood industry.

Why is fish commonly associated with seafood?

Fish are commonly associated with seafood due to their high nutritional value and taste. They are a primary source of seafood and a vital part of many cuisines worldwide. Fish are also an essential part of the seafood industry, which provides employment to millions of people. Fish are consumed in many different forms, such as grilled, fried, baked, or smoked, and are commonly served with various sauces and spices. Due to their versatility and popularity, fish are often the first seafood item that comes to mind when people think of seafood.

Are there any exceptions to fish being considered seafood?

No, there are no exceptions to fish being considered seafood. Fish are a primary source of seafood and are classified as such due to their nutritional value and taste. The term seafood refers to any edible animal or plant that lives in the sea or freshwater bodies. Fish are vertebrates that live in water and are a vital part of the seafood industry, which provides employment to millions of people worldwide. Therefore, fish are universally considered seafood and an essential part of many cuisines worldwide.

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