why fish are fishy

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Why do fish have a distinct fishy smell/taste when beef, pork, chicken or other meat mostly do not smell? I baked some salmon in the oven and now my whole room smells like salmon.

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Seeing as you have your answer you need to question what exactly is a fish? It has been argued that there is no such thing as a fish, some fish for example Lumpfish are genetically closer to humans than say a stingray, then there are shellfish, some are further still away on the evolutionary chain from salmon than they are from your pet dog.

TLDR: dIfferent environments/animals = different biochemistry.

‘Fish’ live in a cold environment (water ‘takes more heat away’ than air) and most fish learn to deal with this cold rather than warming themselves up (cold blooded).

However, this means all their chemistry needs to work in those cold conditions. Take butter as an example. At body temperature it is a useful liquid fat. But at ‘fish temperatures’, it is solid, and can’t do much.

To do this, fish make all their chemicals very runny. This means when they are warmed up, those runny chemicals become super active and fragrant, making them smelly, and quite distinct. (This is also why fish oils and plant oils are considered healthy)

‘Land’ animals or warm blooded animals will have very different chemistry to prevent the oils and fats from overacting, and not be too runny. Therefore thier smells will be different, and maybe milder.

Another factor is the bacteria involved. A lot of smells are a result of compounds breaking down, and different bacteria break things down differently. Different bacteria will live in water vs land environments.