fish trucks

Does anyone know why eighteen-wheelers carrying fish have the word FISH painted on the back? I have never seen this with any other product (whether it be perishable or not) and I was hoping someone would have a good explanation…

They are surrealist trucks. About % other guys and I had a year long running debate/routine going about this . The only thing we all agreed on was that we didn’t want to get pulled over by the FISH POLICE.
We couldn’t even decide if we needed a sign if we made a purchase at the pet store. One guy claimed it was so they wouldn’t be detained by the cops overly long. Which lead to the conclusion that it was clever ploy on the part of the teamsters. Or so if it is in an accident ,people will know it’s gotta get going. But really, I am just as worried about any meat spoiling. Fish does spoil fast sure but I am as puzzled as you. LOOK OUT LOOK OUT FISH POLICE!!! Don’t let um see you driving and drinking that cod liver oil! Thats the kind of thing it deteriated into. Waiting with bated breath to see if there is a logical answer.

Signitorily yours, Mr John
" Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."-Marx

The signs are there just for the halibut.

Oh, DrF. You had to say it.

I’m calling the Fish Police DrF.

Legal reasons. Fed law requires interstate shipments of fish & wildlife (trout, parrots, etc…) to be clearly marked on the outside of the container, with more precise descriptions accompanying the shipment. There are a variety of ways to accomplish the desired result, allowing for the relative size of the shipment, frequency, etc… For major commercial fish shippers it’s probably easier to mark the truck than the individual boxes, and keep the papers in the cab (as opposed to a general trucking company that occasionally carries fish, or birds, or whatever…). Certain states also have their requirements; California is notably strict about the transportation of fish, with similar marking requirements, so the fish police (aka grouper troopers) can check to make sure that the abalone wasn’t poached, that walking catfish aren’t being brought to someplace they shouldn’t, etc…

Ask Georgians and Floridians about the slime eel, and the rule won’t seem so funny.

“Proverbs for Paranoids, 1: You may never get to touch the Master, but you can tickle his creatures.”

  • T.Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow.

Now about those ikhthus’s with open tails and no legs on the back of passenger cars: Is it OK to put legs on them?

Ray (just fishin’)

I agree with Jorge. My uncle is a raiser and seller of live fish. DEC (Dept. of Environmental Conservation) here in NY like to know what’s going on etc. There are certain restrictions on stocking certain types of fish including Grass Carp and several other species which require paperwork for buying, selling, and stocking each individual fish. Lots of paperwork involved but they can also charge a great deal of money for each fish because not many dealers can muck through the paperwork and licensing requirements. Also these vehicles usually contain various equipment that might interest authorities if they just saw it driving down the road without markings; liquid oxygen, air tanks, air pumps, etc. Instead of making the authorities suspicious it’s easier to just have everything marked and the paperwork handy.

Ok LIVE fish and critters I understand.(And I don’t wanta hear about no slime eels or walking catfish. Got enough to worry about with fire ants and killer bees.
I thnk DOOWAW is talking about frozen fish. And it is not just interstate, the local guys that shove a chest type deep freeze in the back of a pickup and deliver to restaraunts got the sign too. The question is basically ,Why don’t we see CHICKEN signs too?What is so unique about FISH?Quick spoilage comes to mind but there has got to bee more. Part o the curiosity is just seeing that sign so bold, stark, and assertive. It is almost like an order from the bait and tackle suppliers.
“Grouper troopers” ? that must be the Fish Police SWAT . bust down your door if you are stockpiling carp in defense of your Fin Ammendment rights. Haul you into the Fish District Circuit Court, let the scales of justice weigh the evidence. Is there no limit?

Signitorily yours, Mr John
" Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."-Marx

Perhaps there is a fish promotion association, after all we dairymen have “Got Milk”. Maybe the fish promoters have all their members put “FISH” on their trucks. Granted, not the Bassed slogan I’ve ever heard but you work with what you got.

THAT"S IT FUNEE! i am calling the fish police right now! Shouldn’t you be out hand pollinating alfalfa?I heard Congress got rid of the honey subsidies, after all, there is plenty of honey for us all,and honey isn’t all THAT important.Stupid congress, how we gonna live in the land of milk and honey if the forage don’t propogate?
This is a fine kettle of fish you got us in, Doowah. Lessee fish police fishpolice Dept. of Commerce? DOT? Agriculture?mmmmm Interior?

I been all over the web can’t find anything about it. Don’t go to the US government sites it will make your brain hurt. BTW since when is the Coast Guard part of the Department of Transportation? I thought it was part of the Treasury. If this change took place in the 70’s I can understand not knowing about it. If I just didn’t understand the site then I still blaim it on the 70’s.

Signitorily yours, Mr John
" Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."-Marx

Check 50 CFR 300.160 et seq.(National Marine Fisheries Service regulations) and also 50 CFR 14.81 et seq.(US Fish & Wildlfie Service regulations), which you can look up at: . The regulations go back to the turn of the century, particularly over concerns about black bass, sacalait, and - as Funnee pointed out - grass carp. It applies not only to live fish (and other wildlife), but “frozen” as well, since poached fish (no pun) might be live or dead.

The law has little to do with health concerns, but rather the management of the harvest of wild resources. So it doesn’t apply to chickens, cattle, etc… since they’re not the result of resource extraction but of farming. (OK, we got fish farming now, but gotta show that Jones’ fish farm didn’t actually seine the Okechobee clean…)

When it isn’t in interstate commerce, the state laws tend to track similar requirements, so it’s easier to just mark the boxes, truck, or refrig.container once and get it over with. The aesthetics ? hey, fish dealers aren’t known for artistic skills.

I’ve been driving for 30 (intermitently, wiseguy) years and I have never seen an 18-wheeler with the word “fish” on the back.
Are we talking about tank trucks or what?
Where is this phenomenon taking place?

Nickrz, the trucks can be just about any size but we’re not talking tanker trucks in the traditional sense. They are usualy flat beds with rectangular tanks with indidual compartments. The compartments open from the top and are between waist and chest high as you are standing on the bed next to the tanks. There are drains at the bottom of each individual compartment so as you deliver to each stop (there are companies who specialize in just live fish delivery between live fish dealers) you can empty the water lightening the load. This also keeps everyones fish seperate and allows for small deliveries along a route instead of massive deliveries being necessary as would a traditional large tanker. Each compartment can also be controlled environmentally by adjusting the amount of aeriation and the temperature of the water at the beginning and at the delivery point. For example, Catfish out of Arkansas are grown at 64F and tanks are filled with 64F for transportation. When they arrive up here in NY the pond temperatures or storage tanks are most likely colder say 56F. Its preferable to not dump directly from one to the other but either cool down the delivery tanks with cold or warm up the storage tanks (obviously this wouldn’t work ponds).

Almost forgot one of the most basic tenets of live fish transport, never feed them right before transporting. After all those dam Bassturds can make them Flounder. That and they would have to wait a half hour before they swim.

You were warned ,Funee,I have been sitting on my perch waiting with bated breath to see if you had reformed.Now you shall feel the wrasse of the FISH Police.Don’t think you can eel your way out of it this time.We have had it up to here with your crappe.
Nick, in Dallas mostly I see it on refrigerated semis or vans , even, as I said on chest type deep freezers in pickups,( making quick hauls from the shrimpers on the GUlf). Usually on the lower right of the back. It is obviously due to regulations because the type is all caps, ugly plain black block(almost like this). X inches high, xinches wide, each vertical to be no less… blah blah in proportion to blah blah.
Thanx jorge, over 30 years of speculation and conjecture over just like that. Who says truth is stranger than fiction. oh alas my beloved fish police.

back alredy. i just remembered that I have seen the sign “LIVE FISH” mostly small vans carrying tropical fish to the shops(Jorge do i need a sign when I buy guppies?). Not many restaraunts here have live fish. Parks and Wildlife makes there runs at night,(obvious reason,you oughta see the people at the local pond on trout dumping day)
Nick, I see the sign on trucks carrying other produce and meats as well as fish, that is one thing that makes it so odd, Ok you got beef and lettuce too. Why aren’t you bragging about that?
Well, thats over. I am going to go start a thread about another great mystery of life see you there.

30 years of conjecture ? I feel bad now.

No, not personal purchases; the rule sez commercial shipments… And the size of the lettering, down by the bumper ? The gov’t is on a tight budget these days, and it’d save 50% to photograph the license plate and the sign in a single satellite photo frame…

“Proverbs for Paranoids, 1: You may never get to touch the Master, but you can tickle his creatures.”

  • T.Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow.

Truckers know better than to get those Fish Police mad. They’re always ready to invoke their motto: Carpe Carp.