EM5 17 FISH ByproductsHigher profits through industrial and culinary usage

With the exception of trout, dorade and a few other fish species that are traditionally prepared on the bone, fillets or loins are today the order of the day where enjoyment of fish is concerned. But that doesn’t mean that processing waste and other remains that are often overlooked are worthless: indeed, they often contain valuable ingredients and – if these are processed and prepared correctly – they can definitely find interested buyers. Many of these fish parts are edible and some of them are even considered delicacies in certain regions of the world.

Preferences when it comes to taste are often contradictory and not easy to understand. Dietary preferences have undergone changes in the course of history. What might in one place be seen as waste can somewhere else be considered a culinary delight. In our part of the world no one would think of eating fish entrails, and even the dark strips of meat from the muscle along the lateral line of the fillet are frequently removed. At the same time a lot of these supposedly sensitive fish eaters enjoy eating slimy oysters without considering that they are swallowing a living animal complete with intestine, gills and other guts. What we know, use and appreciate as food is not only regulated by laws and requirements (for the purpose of food safety, for example) but is also influenced by traditions, culture or religion. That explains why by-products like skin, liver, roe and other internal organs are rarely seen on our plates although they are at least just as nutritious as the fillets. Even tolerant people will perhaps turn up their noses at frogs’ legs, scorpions, locusts or insects that are eaten as delicacies in other parts of the world. Our ancestors were much more robust with regard to their food. One only has to think of snipe that was roasted and eaten whole complete with its innards and bowel contents and was seen as the peak of culinary enjoyment. Today this rather dubious pleasure is forbidden in the EU for reasons of hygiene. An unnecessary taboo since most Europeans would probably be quite happy to do without it… With the exception perhaps of some obstinate Italians who in spite of the ban still can’t do without their “merdocchio”.

Published in Fisheries