Halloween is upon us and it’s time to spot ghosts and goblins roaming the harbour, vampires looking for their next meal and werewolves howling at the moon. But not all the spooksome creatures can be found on land; the sea is full of scary-looking fish lurking and looking for their next prey, and some of these often end up on people’s plates.
These fish are predominantly seen in Asian and Japanese cuisine and can be very dangerous to us, both at sea and in our stomachs. None of them make an appearance on the fish market floor at Plymouth Fisheries thankfully, but it’s fascinating to know which species are popular catches on the other side of the world, despite the danger they often pose.
The Pufferfish is renowned for its deadly toxins that prove fatal as they’re 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. Known as Fugu in Japan, it is prepared and served by specialist trained chefs who train for years to remove any dangerous toxins. However, it is recorded that Fugu poisoning causes 30-50 hospitalisations every year.
Arguably the most venomous fish in the world, Stone Fish are hard to see but you’ll certainly know if you’ve been stung! The spines containing the toxins are removed for cooking so it is safe to eat. These fish can be eaten raw, boiled, or deep-fried and are often found in Asian and tropic cuisine.
These fish are a little different to the others. While Pufferfish and Stone Fish are dangerous at sea and safer on your plate, Silver-Stripe Blaasops are quite the opposite. Their insides can cause paralysis when eaten as well as respiratory issues and have caused a recorded 10 fatalities. It’s considered a delicacy in ports across the Indian Ocean, however due to its questionable reputation, we doubt this fish will become the new favourite across Britain.
Living in shallow waters, these smooth, scale-less fish have sharp teeth but only attack humans when disturbed. They are eaten in a few parts of the world but care must be taken as their flesh can be toxic, causing illness or death.
Found in South American waters, Piranhas are notorious for their sharp teeth and carnivorous tendencies. They have exceptional hearing and are attracted to the smell of blood, however human attacks are rare, despite what the movies might make you think. They are predominantly eaten in Brazil and have an extremely ‘fishy’ taste.
These round fish make up in taste for what they lack in size. They have firm flesh and are more similar to crab than fish. Triggerfish will attack if they feel threatened and will protect their territory and offspring. Their bite is toxic, can cause infection and contains natural poison. They can be found off the shores of the Gulf Coats and in Mediterranean seas.
Thankfully, here at Plymouth Fisheries we offer safe and friendly fish you can tuck into with confidence. We sell 6,000 tonnes of fish per year, none of which feature dangerous toxins, poisons or cause paralysis-inflicting illness. There is nothing creepy about our cod, nothing scary about our salmon, and our Dover Sole isn’t dangerous either.
For more information on our very un-scary fish on offer visit http://www.plymouthfisheries.co.uk/ and go to the recipes and guides page.