Pangasius (Wikipedia) says:

Pangasius is a genus of medium-large to very large shark catfishes native to fresh water in South and Southeast Asia.


In 2011, Pangasius was sixth in the National Fisheries Institute’s "Top 10" list of the most consumed seafood in the United States.

If I understand correctly, fresh water is not sea water, and has little salt.

So why can a fish living in fresh water be called seafood?


  • 3
    If you really want to blow your mind ... look into what the Catholic Church has allowed as 'seafood' and thus allowed while fasting for Lent : catholicnewsagency.com/blog/…
    – Joe
    Jun 17, 2019 at 11:18

3 Answers 3


Don't read too much into the "sea"; there's no rule that every word in the language has to stick precisely to its etymological roots.

Seafood just means edible aquatic life, i.e. fish and shellfish in general. It's a food word, not a biology word, and fish on your plate looks pretty much the same whether it's freshwater or saltwater fish, so generally it all gets lumped into one category.

  • 2
    Amusingly, I mentioned going to "that sea food place" a couple of days ago and got blank stares and after a minute, "You mean The Catfish Parlor? I can't really consider catfish to be 'seafood'." So, while I agree with this, it may not be universal.
    – Catija
    Mar 6, 2017 at 4:14
  • 2
    @Catija Yeah, it's not surprising that people (the OP included) are surprised about the name when they think about it directly, but, well, even The Catfish Parlour says "seafood" on the sign, not "seafood and catfish."
    – Cascabel
    Mar 6, 2017 at 4:27
  • Unresolved questions: are frogs seafood or not?
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 17, 2019 at 16:24
  • @FuzzyChef Nope.
    – David Rice
    Jun 17, 2019 at 17:47
  • 1
    That depends on who you are. If you're Chinese, or from Florida, frogs are seafood.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 17, 2019 at 17:56

That usage might be peculiar to the US as most dictionaries like the Cambridge dictionary and Collins Dictionary list the broader definition of seafood as American English and have the narrower definition as the primary definition

Fish comes from an Old English word that meant any aquatic animal so most people would probably have just used fish without needing another word to denote all food from aquatic sources in general


Yes, you can do so as the term "seafood" is a misnomer. I haven't heard of the term "riverfood" or "lakefood", at least not in English. In Chinese, yes, there is such thing as "riverfood".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.