Rough fish

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Rough fish (or the slang trash fish or dirt fish) is a term used by some U.S. state agencies and anglers to describe fish that are less desirable to sport anglers within a limited region. The term usually refers to larger fish species that are not commonly eaten, are too rare to be commonly encountered, or are not sought by anglers for sporting purposes. Many of these species are very important in the commercial fishing industry, where they make up the bulk of commercial food fish catches in inland fresh waters.[1]

Subjectivity[edit]

There is no standard list of rough fishes. A fish that is considered a rough fish in one region may be considered a desirable game and food fish in another, often due to cultural differences or simply tradition. For example, the common carp is considered an undesirable rough fish in the United States and Australia, but is the premier game fish of continental Europe[citation needed] and the single most important food fish across most of Asia[citation needed]. Furthermore, some rough fish become game fish (and vice versa) over time[2], as different angling methods, sporting opportunities (e.g. modernized bowfishing[3]), and ways to consume fish evolve. In the US, the longnose gar is considered a rough fish and undesirable nuisance in Ohio, but in Louisiana, it is considered tasty by many locals. Due to the many small bones, it is rarely filleted, but instead is usually rolled with seasonings into "gar balls" and fried.[4]

Native versus exotic[edit]

Many US state agencies use the term as a catch-all term to combine both under-appreciated native fish species with problem invasive species.[3][5]This creates confusion about the endemism of species native to North America.[3] For example, some "rough fishes" are exotic species that have been transplanted into North American waters from other continents either intentionally or unintentionally (e.g. the common carp, bighead & silver carp, snakehead, grass carp). Other "rough fishes" are native species that can be confused with carp because they look superficially similar (bigmouth buffalo, smallmouth buffalo, and suckers). Because all of these native fish are lumped together with invasive species as "rough" in many states, the public is quick to label and treat them all as invasive, or as "carp". Still other rough fishes are native fishes completely unlike carp, but are categorized as such because they are underused or unpopular.[6] In North America native "rough fish" such as suckers have historically been scapegoated for human environmental destruction and its impacts on popular fish species such as pacific salmon and smallmouth bass. They have also been seen by some fisheries managers as inferior to introduced species such as brown trout for aesthetic reasons.[7]

Origin of the term[edit]

The first reference to the term "rough" as applied to fish is in the historical work "A History of Fish and Fishing on the Upper Mississippi River" by Carlander. To summarize: In the mid-to-late 19th century, commercial fishermen in the Central United States often netted and processed large quantities of river fish in their boats for sale, particularly in the Mississippi River. They would then travel many miles up or down river to deliver these fish to market. In hot summer weather, the slow, heavily loaded boats often had to be lightened quickly to ensure that the entire catch did not become spoiled before reaching market. The common practice of the time was to save the fully processed fish, since these commanded a higher price at market. Rough-dressed fish (or fish sold "in the rough" - which means they had the internal organs removed but were not filleted) were discarded to lighten the boat, by dumping the carcasses into the river. Thus, originally a "rough fish" was a fish of any species that had been only partly processed and which could not be sold for full price. The term subsequently evolved into a derogatory term for any fish that was undesirable or unpopular.[1]

Variations[edit]

The term coarse fish is used in the United Kingdom to describe all fishes besides trout and salmon, but it is not a derogatory term.[6] The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has made preliminary efforts to replace the term "rough fish" with "underused fish"[8], like some other state agencies have actually done[3], but this has remained an incomplete effort in Minnesota[2]. The slang term "trash fish" is used in some areas, but because it is deemed "slang" it is not accepted by most working directly in the industry, including fishermen.[citation needed]

Prospects[edit]

Many rough fish species are federally endangered, threatened, candidate, or species of concern. These native American fishes have limited and declining populations and are at risk of extinction. Because of this, they are listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act.[9] Some rough fishes listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service are:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Carlander HB (1954) A history of fish and fishing in the upper Mississippi River Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee, University of California.
  2. ^ a b "Minnesota Fishing Regulations 2020" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b c d Lackmann, Alec R.; Andrews, Allen H.; Butler, Malcolm G.; Bielak-Lackmann, Ewelina S.; Clark, Mark E. (2019-05-23). "Bigmouth Buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus sets freshwater teleost record as improved age analysis reveals centenarian longevity". Communications Biology. 2 (1): 1–14. doi:10.1038/s42003-019-0452-0. ISSN 2399-3642.
  4. ^ Becker, George C. (1983) Fishes of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press
  5. ^ "112-year-old fish has broken a longevity record". National Geographic. 2019-08-02. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  6. ^ a b Rob Buffler and Tom Dickson (1990) Fishing for Buffalo: A Guide to the Pursuit, Lore & Cuisine of Buffalo, Carp, Mooneye, Gar, and other "Rough" Fish Culpepper Press, Minneapolis
  7. ^ Miller, Matthew L. "A Sucker (Myth) Is Born Every Minute". blog.nature.org. Nature. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  8. ^ Minnesota Fishing Regulation Booklet, 2010"Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-26. Retrieved 2015-07-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ US Fish and Wildlife Service [1]
  10. ^ ESA Listing for Blue Sucker (Cycleptus elongatus)
  11. ^ ESA Listing for Razorback Sucker (Xyrauchen texanus)
  12. ^ ESA Listing for Robust Redhorse (Moxostoma robustum)
  13. ^ ESA Listing for Cui-ui (Chasmistes cujus)
  14. ^ ESA Listing for Gray Redhorse (moxostoma congestum)
  15. ^ ESA Listing for Sicklefin Redhorse (Moxostoma sp.)
  16. ^ ESA Listing for Shortnose Sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris)
  17. ^ ESA Listing for Flannelmouth sucker (Catostomus latipinnis)
  18. ^ ESA Listing for Greater redhorse (Moxostoma valenciennesi)
General
  • Carlander HB (1954) A history of fish and fishing in the upper Mississippi River Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee, University of California. Html version
  • Rob Buffler and Tom Dickson (1990) Fishing for Buffalo: A Guide to the Pursuit, Lore & Cuisine of Buffalo, Carp, Mooneye, Gar, and other "Rough" Fish Culpepper Press, Minneapolis.
  • Becker, George C. (1983) Fishes of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Minnesota Fishing Regulation Booklet, 2010 [2]
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program [3]

External links[edit]