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Edible fish

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Fish as a food describes the edible parts of water-dwelling, cold-blooded vertebrates with gills, as well as certain other water-dwelling animals such as mollusks, crustaceans, and shellfish.

There are over 27,000 species of fish, making them the most diverse group of vertebrates. However, only a small number of the total species are commonly eaten. Fish are consumed as food all over the world, but fresh fish are moreso in areas close to seas, rivers, and lakes.

Common food fish

Some commonly harvested and eaten fish species include:

  • Salmon

Preserving fish for market

Fish are highly perishable, and must be kept alive or refrigerated or frozen soon after capture or harvest to remain safe for human consumption. Fish are also commonly preserved for long-term storage or wide distribution. Some fish, such as salmon, tuna and herring are cooked and canned, while desiccation (complete drying) is commonly used to preserve some food fish, such as cod and partial drying and salting is popular for the preservation of herring and mackerel, among other fish.

Preparation for consumption

Fish can be prepared in a variety of ways, including raw, baked, fried, grilled, and boiled. Fish may also be served along side or in a dish with other foods, like vegetables, or with various condiments.

Fishes1, especially saltwater fishes, are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are heart-friendly, and a regular diet of fish is highly recommended. This is supposed to be one of the major causes of reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases in Eskimos. It has been suggested that the longer lifespan of Japanese and Nordic populations may be partially due to their higher consumption of seafood. The Mediterranean diet is likewise based on a rich intake of fish. Bangladeshis and Indian people from the states of West Bengal, Orissa, Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala usually like to keep fish in their daily menu of foods. In India and Bangladesh fresh water fishes like Rohu and saltwater fishes like Hilsa are quite popular. Iceland, Japan and Portugal are the largest fish consumers per capita in the world.

Is fish meat?

Some people do not consider fish to be meat like other animal flesh. Some examples include fish eaters who consider themselves vegetarians because they don’t eat other kinds of animal flesh (though this is highly controversial among vegetarians), Catholics who ate fish on Fridays pre-Vatican II when they were expected to fast from other forms of flesh, and Muslims who keep halaal and Jews who keep kosher, neither of which treats fish the same as other forms of animal flesh.


1: The word “fish” can refer to both an organism and a species of fish (in addition to the meat of a fish). These two meanings have different plurals; two organisms are “two fish,” while two species (like Rohu and Hilsa) are “two fishes.”

Materials from the Wikipedia.

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