Misleading Listicle Shows the Problem with Seafood Misinformation

My morning news feed had a link to a listicle style piece on Insider Monkey about the “25 Most Consumed Fish in the US” that made me cringe. What started off as a potentially interesting piece soon devolved into a poorly researched, possibly-AI compiled list, obviously not vetted before the deadline. No wonder American consumers are so confused about buying seafood.

Not All Fish are Seafood – Not All Seafood are Fish!

Right off the bat, this listicle piece has the word “fish” in the title, not seafood. Then proceeds to list ten species of shellfish such as lobster, sea scallops and shrimp within this list of “fish”. This may seem trivial, but it shows the ignorance of the author or editor. It also keeps blurring the lines within the already confusing glossary of seafood.

Furthermore, just because something is classified as a fish, does not automatically make it seafood! The heading above is not a typo – not all fish are seafood. The #3 spot on this list is menhaden aka pogies, a fish that is harvested in huge numbers…but not for direct human consumption.

This is incredibly misleading because menhaden is an industrial fish caught and processed for fish oil, fertilizer, bait, animal feed, and other non-food uses. The author is confusing landings with human consumption. The fish is extremely oily, unpleasant tasting, and spoils quickly. The oils are used in dietary supplements but to call that a food fish is real stretch. If it is not used for human food, it cannot logically be called seafood.

Dogfish and whiting listicle

Bad Seafood Information and Poor English

Native to the Atlantic Ocean is this breed of salmon which is preferred by many Americans. Most of the Atlantic Salmon are caught by the commercial fish farms in Washington however recreational fishers tend to catch any of this salmon that escapes. They are mostly found in Maine, United States.


The quote above is badly written and confusing. Fish farms do not catch fish, they raise fish. There are some wild Atlantic salmon in Maine, but this 3rd grade level paragraph from the listicle is missing some information. Besides, most of the Atlantic salmon consumed by Americans is imported – making up nearly 20 percent of total seafood imports. I really hope this was an AI job or just badly translated.

Number 8 on the list is “Tuna Albacore” followed by some more word salad. This is just plain sloppy and the more I read I think the list was just created by an AI.

Inconsistent Metrics for 25 Most Consumed Fish in the US

How can a list like this have four types of salmon – with “Unclassified Salmon” making #2 – but only one category for “Flounders”? Among the individual shellfish listed there is also at #16….Shellfish?! If I really had to use this list for school or work, I would soon find it useless.

Who Was This Seafood Listicle Actually Written For?

This website is supposed to provide information that would be useful for investors. This top 25 fish list is not necessarily for seafood consumers. However the more I look at the list, and the horrible grammar, I wonder if this article was written for humans at all. I’m starting to think these types of articles/listicles are less clickbait and more just written for “the algorithm”. They show up in newsfeeds, apps and suggested reading lists thanks to SEO tricks. I’m not sure if it is even made to be read beyond the headings.

This kind of garbage information is why so many Americans are confused about seafood. Can you imagine if you had to do this kind of homework to buy a steak? This is what I’m up against as I redouble my efforts to grow Buying Seafood into a trusted review and seafood information source.

Please reach out if there are specific questions you have about sourcing seafood. Together we can defeat seafood ignorance and go back to getting most of our fish and shellfish from domestic sources.