5 fish got different names, and now they're so expensive it hurts.

A dark side of winning the seafood version of a popularity contest? A human feeding frenzy.

What's in a name?

For fish, the stakes of a name are quite high. With a new name, a fish that was once never even considered edible by society becomes THE fish to eat.


Sure it's delicious ... but what's its NAME? Image via Evan Blaser/Flickr.

Renamed fish can get more expensive and wind up becoming endangered faster.

Take ... lobster, for example!

Even lobster has been a victim of rebranding.

Image by Claude Covo-Farchi/Wikimedia Commons.

Lobster used to be considered a food for, well, people down on their luck — prisoners, servants, and the like — because they were so plentiful. But around the 19th century, American tourists started traveling to lobster country in New England in search of authenticity, a rustic living experience, and local dishes, and the crustaceans started to be seen as more of a delicacy.

Fast forward to lobster being overfished so much that its prices actually skyrocketed.

Rebranding helps to sell fish, but it winds up shifting things really far out of balance.

Turns out this rebranding and renaming is nothing new. Many fish have been renamed out of their hilariously gross names and gross reputations, leading to high demand, high cost, and high negative human impact.

When deep sea fishing companies see piles and piles of money in their future, many of the fishing boats that get into the game are funded illegally — and because the high seas has a problem with law enforcement, illegal fishing is not only profitable, it's feasible.

And because these fishing boats are working largely outside the law, there's a much higher occurrence of human rights and labor abuses on illegal fishing boats. Unsustainably fished seafood, especially in the case of deep sea fishing, has a real human impact.

So in the interest of wisdom, here's a short list of rebranded fish that marketers are schooling you on:

1. Toothfish (aka "Chilean sea bass")

Chilean sea bass are a perfect example of this rebranding problem.

Yum. Image via Pcziko/Wikimedia Commons.

They were once known as the toothfish: ugly, oily, bottom dwelling, frozen in the Antarctic water, toothy fish.

But great with a miso marinade, apparently! Image via Foobaz/Wikimedia Commons.

At the beginning of their meteoric rise to unsustainable populations, Chilean sea bass were $8 per pound. Now? Good luck finding them for under $25.

Even though Chilean sea bass are no longer considered "endangered" or "threatened," they're still "at risk for overfishing."

2. Whore's eggs (aka "Maine sea urchins")

Yikes, North Atlantic fisherman! Harsh words!

Image via Hannah K R/Wikimedia Commons.

That ball of green spines used to be called that interestingly colorful name above by Maine lobstermen. Renamed "Maine sea urchins," it found new life in sushi restaurants under the Japanese name "uni"!

According to the New York Times, "an ambitious diver [for Maine sea urchins] can earn as much as $2,500 a week harvesting sea urchins, depending on the diver and the catch."

3. Mud crabs (aka "peekytoe crab")


These guys are also known as rock crabs or sand crabs. Tasty! Image via Pseudopanax/Wikimedia Commons.

As a New York Times report mentions, the peekytoe crab is seeing a price jump since it went from trash to treasure with a rebrand.

" This little crab is so beloved at Restaurant Daniel, Jean Georges, the French Laundry, Spago and other famous eating establishments that the chefs pay $12 to $14 a pound for something that has long been routinely discarded."


4. Goosefish (aka "monkfish")



Image via NOAA's Fisheries Collection/Wikimedia Commons

According to a report from the Washington Post, harvests of this fish increased five-fold (five!) from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s after rebranding.

5. Slimehead (aka orange roughy)

Image via Mark Lewis, CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

And the roughy still has it pretty rough. It's still so at risk that some grocers, such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Safeway, placed a ban on selling it.

With just a little more awareness and technology (like apps that let you search to make sure the fish you're eating isn't created by human suffering and contributing to a sad ocean), we can drive down the literal price of the fish and, particularly in the case of deep sea fish like the Patagonian Toothfish, we can drive down the HUMAN cost (aka human trafficking and labor problems).

It starts with awareness. It ends with a happier ocean, happier people, and a stronger world for generations to come.

Rah-rah!

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Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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