Is Fish Considered Meat?

The answer to is fish meat is both yes and no, depending on how you look at it. It is an animal, both most religions don’t consider it as meat.

To answer this question fully we have to look at it from many points of view.

Is Fish Considered Meat?

Many religious circles don’t consider fish as meat.

There are different religions and different denominations within them, and each has its views on fish.

The most popular religion in the U.S, Christianity and its many denominations claim fish is separate from meat. For example, we can look at Fridays during which many Christians won’t eat meat, but they will eat fish. The thought behind it is that some believe because Jesus died on Friday, they should not eat warm-blooded animals during that day, but fish is permitted as a cold-blooded animal. 

The Friday meat fasting also relates to the religious-linguistic way of looking at the question. Mainly the Christian law, written in Latin. The law states that on Fridays, Christians are forbidden to eat carnis, which are warm-blooded land animals. Since fish is neither warm-blooded nor land-dwelling, it is not considered meat and hence is allowed on Fridays.

As another religious example, Muslims have strict rules dictating how to handle the meat of animals to be pure, but there are no such rules for fish, which indicates that fish is not meat for them.

From a scientific (and linguistic) point of view, the fish is often considered meat, although the opinions are somewhat divided in the linguistic department. To be more precise, we can use a dictionary, in which we can read that meat is “the flesh of an animal when it is used for food.” It indicates that fish, as an animal, is also included in the meat category.

In Old English, the word “meat” described anything of solid substance that was edible, including your usual cow, pig, deer, but also fish and any fruit and nut. 

Today some people still stick to the old version of the language and often consider, i.e., peach, salmon, and walnut, as meat or flesh.

In the theme of language, but on the opposite side, there is also an old English saying (sometimes still used): neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. It means something or someone doesn’t fit in any category. It also suggests that flesh, meaning meat, and fish are separate from each other. 

Science tells us clearly that fish is meat. All muscle tissue is made out of 75% water, 20% protein, 5% fat, and carbohydrates. Fish is composed of muscles, same as cow, deer, or chicken. It means that we should consider fish meat.

We can also regard fish meat from the pragmatic point of view. It is because, like any cow, pig, or chicken, fish eat, breathe, and bleed. Many people would also think that fish doesn’t have red blood, but all anglers know the truth. The fish, even though a cold-blooded animal, has red blood. In this regard, it doesn’t make it any different from warm-blooded animals which meat we consume. 

Difference Between Fish and Meat

Is Fish Considered Meat?

From the cooking point of view, there are few differences between fish meat and meat from land mammals we usually consume. 

The significant difference between fish and meat, i.e., cow or deer, is muscle structure. The muscle fibers in the fish meat are shorter than in deer meat, and the connective tissue is positioned differently and more delicate. While cow or deer muscle is bound together and attached to the bone, the layers of muscle in the fish meat are separated and lay in thin sheets against each other. 

Another difference is in fat. In most fish, the fat is mostly invisible, blending with the muscle tissue, while in deer or cow meat, the fat mostly surrounds the muscle tissue, and it’s easier to remove.

Fish meat’s fat and connective tissue dissolves in lower heat, turning into gelatine more quickly than meat.

What is Fish Meat Called?

Fish meat is called fish. Even though the meat from a cow is called beef, and the meat from deer is called venison, the fish didn’t get a different name in the English language. 

There is also no distinction between different types of fish. We may call them steak (tuna) or fillet (halibut), but in general, all the cuts are still called fish. 

Final Thoughts

Depending on how you look at it fish may or may not be considered meat. From a religious point of view, fish is mostly considered a non-meat food. Also, many vegetarians consume fish and don’t think of it as meat. However, if we look at it from another point of view, fish is an animal thus it would technically be considered meat.