Squawking gets squawfish renamed

  The squawfish is about to be rechristened. The Names of Fishes Committee of the American Fisheries Society has recommended that all squawfish be renamed pikeminnows. Although the committee is reluctant to change common names for fear of causing confusion, it made an exception this time because "names should not violate the tenets of good taste." The committee determined that the squawfish probably was never intended to be a derogatory reference to Native American women; in fact, it's more likely that the term evolved from a mispronunciation of squawkfish - the sound the fish makes when it's taken out of the river. Regardless of its origins, many Native American groups like the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission find it offensive today, calling the decision "long overdue."


To get a fish renamed, write Joseph S. Nelson, Chair of the Names of Fish Committee, Department of Biology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E9.


*Stanley Yung


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