When Plato gave Socrates the definition of man as “featherless bipeds,” Diogenes found and plucked a chicken and brought the poor creature into Plato's Academy, placed it on the ground and announced, “Behold! I’ve brought you a man.” Wow this story is amusing. It perfectly demonstrates a situation that I am trying my damnedest to avoid.
You see, I have a myriad of fictional worlds and most of them stretch my speculative evolutionary muscles but I’ve run into an interesting little snag. You see on many of these worlds, both human and local species regularly turn to the water such as the ocean or rivers, or lakes in order to hunt the creatures that swim in those waters for food. Now on earth, such a hunt may be categorized as fishing, which makes sense since the objects of such a hunt are usually called fish. But here’s the problem, on a few such worlds, these creatures are nowhere near what we would call fish.
No, this is stealing a book out of Plato’s book, but I’m using this to illustrate the point. In order to qualify as a fish, even on an alien planet, the creature must A) be a vertebrate or have some local equivalent to a backbone b) must have gills, or some other organ to extract oxygen from the water and c) must have some adaptation such as fins to allow it to swim. If an alien species fills all three of those criteria I can see human colonist going Eh, close enough, and labeling the creatures as a fish.
What if a creature doesn’t fit all three criteria? For an example, let’s zoom in on a creature called an Uku. Now and Uku has fins has the rough shape of a fish allowing it to swim like one it has gills, allowing it to breathe underwater, but it doesn’t have a backbone. In fact, the closest Terran equivalent to an Uku would be a sea slug.
Or how about a creature called the Kla’aang that outwardly looks like a fish but with an arthropod carapace and legs?
Or as a further example the Haasrik, it has a back bone yes, it has fins but instead of girls that has lungs. The Haasrik is descended from rabbit like creatures that were forced into the sea and the bred like…well, rabbits and out competed the local equivalent of fish.
Now here in lies the problem you can’t very well called catching these creatures fishing, as to call them a fish carries all the absurdity of calling a plucked chicken, a man. Not to mention, “what a lovely day to go Ukuing,” or “Mala, I’m going out on the lake. Have you seen my Kla’aanging spear?” or “I’ve got my Haasriking pole, and a six pack of drashyl, let’s get on that river,” never really sound right no matter how many times you try.
So here is my question.
What do you call the act of fishing on another planet for creatures that are not fish, but still the same ecological niche of fish?
Note: I have heard the term Angling that can work in some instances, but it only covers when it’s being done with with a rod and a line so saying, “hand me my angling spear” or “I’ve got my angling net ready” run into the same issues.