Fish names and their alternatives

As a coastal living foodie-gardener-blogger I read many, many recipes and sometimes get thoroughly confused “is that what I know as…..” often pops into my head. And then the tricky question of “I can’t get that fish locally”, let alone thinking about Sustainable Fishing (for more info on sustainable fishing check out the Marine Stewardship Council’s website – it has heaps of info, photos and even recipes).

I plan to cook and eat more fish – using what I have locally, cooking the kind of food I enjoy – simple and tasty and fresh. Here in Hastings the small boat launched fishing fleet sustainably catches Mackerel (Atlantic Mackerel) Herring and Dover sole  (English Sole, Flounder or Gray Sole), – all delicious!

So for all you fishy foodies out there here’s a ‘comprehensive’ list of fish names and their alternatives by country and to make life even easier I’ve saved into a PDF Fish names and alternatives so you can download and print it.

Happy fishing …… and cooking!

Fresh Fish Sign_Hastings 2

List of names and types of fish by country – fish names and their alternatives

UK USA / Canada Australia / New Zealand
Anchovies Anchovies Anchovies
Brill Petrale sole, Brill Sole Sole, Flounder, Brill
Cod Cod, Pacific Cod Blue Cod
Coley Haddock Hoki
Conger Eel Conger Eel Blue Grenadier, Ribbon Fish
Dover Sole English sole, Gray Sole Sole, Flounder
Flounder Flounder Flounder
Garfish Skipper Garfish
Grey Mullet Mullet, Striped Bass Mullet
Gurnard Searobin Gurnard
Haddock Haddock Blue Cod, Hoki
Hake Hake, Silver Hake Hake, Gemfish
Huss Spurdog Flake
John Dory John Dory, Oreo Dory John Dory
Lemon Sole English Sole, Flounder Sole, Flounder
Ling Cusk, Cobia Ling
Mackerel Atlantic Mackerel Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel
Megrim Sole Flounder Flounder
Monkfish Monkfish, Anglerfish Monkfish, Stargazer
Red Bream Red Snapper Snapper
Red Mullet Goatfish Red Mullet, Barbounia
Salmon Salmon Atlantic Salmon
Sardines Sardines Sardines, Pilchards
Sea Bass Sea Bass Jewfish
Sea Bream Bream Bream
Sea Trout Steelhead Trout Ocean Trout
Shark Shark Shark, Flake
Skate Skate Skate
Snapper Snapper Snapper
Squid Squid, calamari Squid, Calamari
Swordfish Swordfish Swordfish, Broadbill
Tuna Tuna Tuna
Turbot Flounder Sole, John Dory, Flounder
Brown Crab Dungeness Crab Blue Swimming Crab
Clams Hardshell Clams Clams
Littleneck Clams Littleneck Clams, Pipi
Cherrystone Clams Clams
Cockles Cockles Pipi, Cockles
Crayfish, Crawfish Crayfish, Spiny Lobster Yabbies, Marron
Lobster Lobster Rock Lobster
Mussels Blue Mussels Mussels
Oysters Oysters Oysters
Prawns Shrimp Sea Scallop, Bay Scallop
Scallop Sea Scallop, Bay Scallop Sea Scallop, Bay Scallop
Spider Crab Spider Crab, Snow Crab Blue Swimming Crab, Salad Crab
Spiny Lobster Spiny Lobster, Crawfish Crayfish, Spiny Lobster

Original list from Rick Stein Fruits of the Sea

Alternative Fish and Shellfish List

If you see a recipe for Mackerel but don’t have easy access to it then Herring is a good alternative, maybe you can’t get Cod or it’s not in season then you could use Haddock. I’ve saved the list as a PDF so you can use it at will or share it with a friend.

Alternative Fish List PDF

Brown   Crab – Spider Crab
Clams – Cockles or Mussels
Cod – Haddock
Conger Eel – Shark, Swordfish or Tuna
Dover Sole – Megrim Sole, Lemon Sole,   Sand Sole
Garfish – Grey Mullet, Gurnard or   Dover Sole
Grey Mullet – Bass or Gurnard
Gurnard – Sea Bass or Weaver Fish
Haddock – Cod or Hake
Hake – Haddock or Cod
Huss – Tope or Shark
John Dory – Turbot or Brill
Lemon Sole – Megrim Sole, Plaice
Ling – Monkfish
Lobster – Spiny Lobster
Mackerel – Herring
Monkfish – Swordfish or Turbot/john   Dory
Ocean Perch – Snapper or Grey Mullet
Oysters – Mussels or Clams
Plaice – Lemon Sole, Dabs, Flounder
Prawns –
Red Mullet – Bream or Sea Bass
Salmon – Sea Trout
Sardines – Sprats
Scallops – Monkfish
Sea Bream – Bass or Snapper
Sea Trout – Salmon or Trout
Shark – Tuna, Swordfish, Conger eel
Skate – angel Shark,
Spider Crab – Brown Crab
Squid – Cuttlefish
Tuna – Swordfish or Monkfish
Turbot – Brill, Dabs or John Dory

Original list from Rick Stein ‘Fruits of the Sea’


If you spot anything that is missing or wrong please let me know and I’ll do my best to make the changes!

Fishy Promenade recipes include –

South Indian Fried Fish ThaiFishCakes1  Fish Sign     


Thai Fish Cakes                                                      South Indian Fried Fish                                            Classic Kedgeree  



  • This is fantastic Claire, and bookmarkable (is that a word?). I so often come across fish types in the blogs I peruse and scratch my head. Some of the names on your list are lovely (particularly stargazer, goatfish and sea robin).
    PS. We have a great website in Australia too, called Good Fish Bad Fish that offers alternatives for unsustainable fish.

  • This is great, Claire. I’ve a similar app and refer to it whenever I’m out shopping for seafood. Of course, you really have to have a reputable fish monger, one who will tell you things like where and how the fish was caught. Thanks for gathering the info for us.

  • Oh how helpful is that. It’s going straight to my desktop. My only squabble would be replacing scallops with monkfish. Let’s face- it a scallop is a scallop Rick!
    Thanks for putting this together Claire. cheers… wendy

    • I suppose the replacements are sometimes in terms of texture or how the fish would cook up in a recipe. Scallops are easy for me to get, they are caught locally – Rye Bay. The one thing I do struggle with is finding a repacement for prawns….. I try so hard not to eat those blasted ones from fish farms but I love eating them! A mere human am I 🙂

      • I here that. I unfortunately googled shrimp from Vietnam. I do try to scout out good shrimp when I buy it for home. Our favorite around here are spotted prawns especially in season early summer I think. But that’s not always the case.

  • Quite a lesson for one in a landlocked location. It is good we have access to fresher fish than in days gone by when fresh used to mean at least a week old. I am sure it will shock you that I never developed a taste for most seafood–although I am expanding my fish experiences.

    • Hi Alice, I don’t think you are alone on this one, Iknow quite a few people who eithe rdon’t like fish or only like a few kinds of fishy dishes. Each to their own I say! Mind you living by the coast it would be rud eof me not to like good old Fish and Chips, not forgetting the mushy peas 🙂

    • Thank you and thank you for the link, that’s a great resource, I’ve been looking for something similar here in the UK/ Europe….. but can’t seem to find one!

      • Hi, has a list of sustainable seafood. I am in Canada (Vancouver). The grocery stores have a colour code system. I love all fish and especially love shellfish. My current favourites are scallops and sablefish aka black cod. Oh and always wild Pacific salmon over farmed Atlantic.

  • This is terrific! Being here smack dab in the middle of Lake Michigan, I rarely eat ocean fish (except for the occasional treat of shellfish) but this is a handy guide for the names, as you say, when they occur in a recipe. It helps to know what I can substitute. Thank you!

    • I’m the opposite Cindy, I rarely get to eat fresh water fish – I did have some wonderful Perch from Lac Leman when in France, totally delcious, and lucky you!

  • Wow this is so informative my friend – I had no idea about fish shopping and their names haha 😀
    Got to learn this all!

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Thank you! This is hugely helpful to someone living Down Under! Never would have associated ‘coley/haddock’ with ‘hoki’! Similarly would not have known that sea bass so oft mentioned is simply our ‘jewfish’ 🙂 ! The one line I cannot understand states ‘prawns/shrimp’ equals sea/bay scallops – surely there is a mistake there? We love our prawns!!!!

    • Does sound like a mistake, I really can’t think of anything that replaces prawns. So I nee dto have a look/ask around

      Happy to help with the Jewfish 🙂

  • What a very good and clever idea Miss Promenade! Very useful indeed. We ate a wonderful fish dish last night…I bought a mix to make fish pie and ended up turning it into a pil pil 🙂 Are you settling back into “real” life?

  • What a great post Claire, I just saw a post from Ireland that used prawns but their prawns have claws and tails, kind of like a very tiny, thin lobster. Our prawns are just extra large shrimp.

  • You forgotten to post the Swedish … names *smile – what a job .. and no wonder I was lost when I just moved to UK .. brilliant post – so much fish out there in names, not to much in the oceans anymore.

    • Ha ha, yes the Swedish names……..
      So true about the declining fish populations – it’s all about management and not over fishing!!

      • I know .. fish is so expensive those days! I wish I could afford to eat fish everyday.
        Dover Sole – Sjötunga
        Cod – Torsk
        Salmon – Lax
        Herring – Strömming
        Halibut- Hälleflundra
        Turbot – Piggvar
        Plaice – Spätta
        Lobster – Hummer
        Shrimps – Räkor
        Oysters – Ostron
        Munkfish – Kattfisk

        … we start with this …

  • This is a great list…I’m sure we could all add some strange names that certain seafood is called in our areas. Crawfish is also called crawdads in the southern part of the U.S. and believe it or not but you can find them living in mud instead of water. Growing up in Texas, many times you would find them crawling out of their mud holes into your garden.

    • Oh my goodness my favourite? I love scallops – we have local ones from Rye Bay, adore proper fish and chips (cod), clams, lobster, love the dark meat on oily fish, any kind of fish – I love them all I don’t think I could choose

  • Wow, this is a lot of fish, many of which I don’t know. Whenever I come across a recipe that calls for a fish that is not available, I substitute and that usually works out pretty well. Just had lots of good seafood in Vietnam.

    • I bet th efood you hav ebeen eating in S E Asia has been fabulous – fresh and tasty, oh I’m trying not to be too jealous 🙂 Happy travels!

  • What a great resource! Now when I did a semester abroad in Dublin (ages ago) I used to get ray at the local fish & chips place–never knew exactly what it was but liked it enormously. It was seasonal–available in fall but not spring.

    • To find a good and I mean GOOD fish and chip shop is a real treasure Inger. We have a couple of good ones here in Hastings and you’d be amazed at how parochial we all are with our own personal favourites!

  • Hi, In Australia we call Prawns or Shrimp “Prawns” not Sea Scallop, Bay Scallop. as shown on your list. Cheers.

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