Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

porgy a general name applied in the USA to various species of fish in the family Sparidae, especially Stenotomus chrysops. This is a fish with a brownish back, silvery lower down, which has a maximum length of 45 cm (18").

The Narragansett Indians called it mishcuppauog, pauog being their name for fertilizer. This was shortened by the early settlers in New England to scuppaug; and afterwards to scup, a better name than porgy (or paugy, as it used to be spelled at New York), and one still in use as a common name. Another common name is northern porgy, since its range is from Cape Cod southwards as far as the Carolinas, below which S. aculeatus, the southern porgy, was once thought to roam, although now the American Fisheries Society does not recognize a difference.