Appetizing new names can catapult fish from the ocean depths to the top of the shopping list. Consider Patagonian/Antarctic toothfish, a cod icefish with a terrifying underbite. Rechristened Chilean sea bass in the 1970s, it grew insanely popular–and then overfished–within 20 years.
Snazzy handles work wonders. Dolphinfish might put you off, but mahimahi? Mahalo! But again, new fame can harm sustainability. After Southwest Pacific slimehead changed to orange roughy, we ate it onto the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch's "avoid" list. Maine sea urchin (uni)–née whore's eggs–is now also off-limits.
The same species often live in different regions, thus the many aka's: A rosefish by any other name–specifically, Acadian redfish–tastes as sweet. Strategic marketing monikers are a different story. A spokesperson for the FDA–which oversees market names–declined to speculate, but don't bet against the likes of spiny dogfish resurfacing on menus as, say, silver sea steak.more