Where is the Chilean Sea?

I can look at a globe and point to the Sea of Japan, the outline of the Caribbean Sea makes sense, and the Red Sea is a no brainer. But when I look at a globe and search all around the coast Chile I see nothing that jumps out and says Chilean Sea to my eye. Where do all these delicious, flakey Bass come from?

There is no “Chilean Sea”.

Read it like this, “Sea Bass from off the coast of Chile”.

Actually “Chilean Sea Bass” is just a marketing name as Americans probably wouldn’t try Patagonian Toothfish (aka Chilean Sea Bass) if they saw it on the menu.

There is no “Chilean Sea”.

Read it like this, “Sea Bass from off the coast of Chile”.

Actually “Chilean Sea Bass” is just a marketing name as Americans probably wouldn’t try Patagonian Toothfish (aka Chilean Sea Bass) if they saw it on the menu.

These sea bass, tell me, are they ill-tempered?

Oddly enough, there are references to a Chilean Sea on the net, and while many can be dismissed, some seem to be from reputable sources.

Here’s one example, from Alexander Selkirk: The Real Robinson Crusoe by James S. Bruce and Mayme S. Bruce, published in The Explorers Journal, Spring 1993.

Alexander Selkirk’s adventure did not take place on a deserted island in the Caribbean Sea. His lonely abode was the uninhabited Island of Juan Fernandez in the Chilean Sea far off in the Pacific Ocean.

Link

It appears that referring to the offshore ocean as the Country name Sea is not uncommon in Southern South America. There are a number of references to the Argentine Sea, the Chilean Sea, and the Peruvian Sea, (although I found no similar references to the Brazilian Sea or the Ecuadoran Sea).

I have not been able to discover whether this is a local term translated to English or whether various English-speaking groups have used the term (for reasons yet unknown) to describe the Southern Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America.

Actually, throwing mar chileno and mar argentino into Google™ turns up a lot of hits describing the areas just off each country’s coast, so it appears to be a usage that originated in those locales.

The sea bass of that name is mostly fished in Australian and Antarctic waters. There are regular chases of fish pirates illegally trawling these waters.

It’s going to drive me crazy now, because I can’t remember when or where, but I just read a magazine article about one man’s twenty year battle to get the fish sold in the U.S. He tried out a number of names for the Patagonian Toothfish and finally settled on Chilean Sea Bass.

It’s not the same one, but this New York Times Magazine article has everything you might want to know about the fish.