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RoLo

Can We Call A Dolphin, A Dolphin?

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Most saltwater fishermen who venture offshore have tangled with a dolphin.

Along the Atlantic seaboard, dolphins are one of our most abundant gamefish,

a beautiful neon fish, great fighters and excellent table fare.

Low and behold, a film was produced back in the 50s called, "Boy On A Dolphin", that did it!

The boy was not on a dolphin, which is a fish, the boy was actually on a "porpoise", which is a mammal.

Since that time, the term "dolphin" and "porpoise" were frequently used interchangeably.

Thanks to the popular use of this misnomer, New Jersey saltwater columist, Al Ristori bowed to political pressure

and began to refer to dolphins as "dolphinfish". It was a noble gesture, but the new term never gained a foothold

Restaurants went a different route, they dropped the native term "dolphin" and replaced it with the Hawaiian translation, "Mahi Mahi".

Meanwhile, many fisherman on the Pacific coast use the Mexican translation, "dorado" instead of dolphin.

It all seems very silly to me, why we can't call a fish by its name, why we can't call a "dolphin" a "dolphin"?

Well, actually we can and maybe we should, then perhaps more people will begin to call a "porpoise" a "porpoise".

Roger

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That's too funny. I was having this exact argument with a friend of mine Wednesday night. ;D

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Dolphin and porpoise are not interchangeable, although some refer to dolphins as porpoises. The common porpopise is in the genus phocoena, while the dolphin is genus delphinus.

I don't know the history of the usage, but virtually every dictionary lists dolphin as the mammal as the first definition given.

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Dolphin and porpoise are not interchangeable, although some refer to dolphins as porpoises. The common porpopise is in the genus phocoena, while the dolphin is genus delphinus.

I don't know the history of the usage, but virtually every dictionary lists dolphin as the mammal as the first definition given.

You are correct Marty.

I don't know the history of their usage either, but I will say this, I've never once in my life

heard any fisherman (or biologist) refer to the fish-version as a 'porpoise', they always say 'dolphin'.

I'm sure you know that if enough people misuse a word, lexicographers will add the new sense

to the list of meanings, and are constantly reshuffling the order of preferential usage.  

My favorite example is Vehicle. Confused by the pronunciation of Vehicular Homicide

the pronunciation of Vehicle is currently transforming from Veeackle to Vee Hickle.

Does this mean that Ventricular Fibrillation will change Ventricle to Venn Trickle

and Testicular Cancer will change Testicles to Tess Tickles?

Roger

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I have always called a Porpoise, Porpoise and ever since I made my first trip offshore I have called the fish Dolphin it correct name. The only time I call it Mahi, is when I am explaining to some one who has never heard or seen a dolphin, what the difference is. BTW  I think these are beautiful fish right after you hook the up and get them to the boat. Sometimes when the jump in the air. you can actually see them change colors.

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I call dolphin dolphin. Fish names are funny- they vary so much with region that miscommunication is very common.

I call them red drum most people say redfish.

I call them rockfish if they're in chesapeake bay and bass if i caught them surf fishing. I only say stripers so everyone knows what i'm talking about.

I call them blackfish some say tautog some say tog.

A kingfish to me is a small fish that lives in the wash in the surf. A king mackerel is the big toothy kind.

Etc. etc.

And everyone else has their own way of naming fish.

It's really quite confusing.

(Didn't mean to hijack your thread I thought it was a natural extension)

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Big T,

You're right, their color change is fast and sad. As soon as they hit the deck, the chartreuse light goes out.

MDangler,

I've encountered every local moniker that you mentioned :)

Let me throw in a couple more, first the Local Moniker followed by the Correct Name:

SALTWATER

Squeteague = Weakfish

Fluke =             Summer Flounder

Ling =             Red Hake

Whiting =       Silver Hake

Sand Shark = Dogfish

Moss Bunker = Menhaden

False Albacore = Little Tunny

FRESHWATER

Speckled Perch = Crappie

Stumpknocker = Spotted Sunfish

Shellcracker = Redear Sunfish

Bream = Bluegill Sunfish

Pickerel =       Walleye

Jack = Pickerel

Roger

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That reminds me...

I had a friend and colleague who didn't fish locally, but went to this one place in Canada once or twice per year. In addition to some panfish, what he always told me he caught were smallies and pickerel.

One time I talked him into fishing a local lake. Pretty soon he caught a pickerel and as he was hauling it into the boat he said, "what the hell is that?" I said, "Mark, what do you mean what is that, you've told me for years about the pickerel you always catch in Canada." He said "they don't look anything like that."

Well, after discussing the Esox family, we determined that what he'd been catching in Canada were pike and we've always had a good laugh when we think of that outing.

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Hey, I lived in LA for 3 years....

Nobody mentioned:

Grinnel = Bowfin

Chinkipin = Redear Sunfish

Goo fish / Gaspergoo = uhhh, help me out here.... isn't it a Smallmouthed Buffalo ?

Peace,

Fish

PS, Here in Cali, we just call them what they are ;-)

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Goo fish / Gaspergoo = uhhh, help me out here.... isn't it a Smallmouthed Buffalo ?

They are actually a type of drum... and they beat the he!! out of a zoom lizard or a sweet beaver!!  ...lol

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I'll bet the director who titled the film "boy on a dolphin" did it on porpoise  

Excellent...I can't top that  ;D

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