Fish facts for table guests

Fish come in all colours, sizes and shapes, and many of them are considered a delicacy. These nine facts about the delectable ocean dwellers show that fish are more than just a tasty dish.

Tuna on pink background

Sea sickness and drowning fish? 

It may sound crazy, but it’s true: fish can get sick if the sea is too choppy. Like humans, fish have an organ that maintains their equilibrium, and it can be disrupted. In severe cases, seasickness can cause fish to vomit. But that is not even the worst thing that can happen to the aquatic inhabitants. Some fish species can even drown. Lungfish have an organ that is unusual for fish: in addition to gills, they have lungs that allow them to breathe at the water surface. They can crawl on land, which is why they were initially thought to be reptiles. Unfortunately, they can also drown because of this.

Is that really a talent? 

When it comes to talented fish, the clear winner is the blobfish. It looks funny and has been named the ugliest animal in the world because of its odd shape. Now it is the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society

A fish that causes hallucinations 

Fish instead of LSD? Something like that. Due to a special toxin, eating salema porgy, commonly known as the ‘dreamfish’, can have an auditory and visual hallucinogenic effect on the human body. In ancient times, the fish was used as a drug to induce hallucinations.

In spite of the smell  

Why are fish or oysters almost always served with lemons? In the past, they were used to cover up unpleasant smells that arose during long transportation periods. Nowadays, fish is served much faster or is frozen beforehand. A lemon is therefore no longer necessary, but has become traditional. However, it is not the only thing about fish dishes that has changed over time. Much of what was once a ‘poor man’s’ food is now considered a delicacy. More: From yucky to flashy: From budget food to gourmet dishes

Parasite hotel fish 

This question comes up quite often: isn’t raw fish dangerous? And yet it is in greater demand than ever. Sushi is now a popular dish all over the world. The problem is that raw fish may contain parasites that can also be dangerous for humans. Therefore, fish that is intended for sushi or sashimi must first be deep-frozen for 24 hours at –20 degrees to reliably kill parasites.

Don’t mess with the stonefish 

The prickly-looking stonefish is not only a real master of camouflage. It is also one of the most poisonous fish in the world. A sting from its dorsal spines causes great pain and may even lead to death in severe cases. Nevertheless, it is considered a delicacy in some Asian countries such as China and Japan, where it is often served as sashimi. And that’s not even the only dangerous sashimi ingredient around. The fugu pufferfish is also extremely poisonous.

Radical body restructuring  

Flatfish like flounder and halibut are not born flat. At birth, they look like any other fish. But as juveniles they undergo metamorphosis. Their eyes move to the upper body surface first, followed by the skull bones and external nasal opening. Their muscles, nerves and mouth also change. Eventually, their swim bladder reduces in size so that the flatfish can lie permanently on the seabed.

The shimmer of lipstick 

Pearl essence, guanine and fish silver – the ingredient has many names. Fish silver crystals are obtained from fish scales by dissolving them with an organic solvent and then washing them. In the cosmetics industry, they are used to create a soft shimmer in the production of lipsticks, eye shadows and nail varnish. But fish scales aren’t the only thing used in the production of a wide variety of products. Nowadays, oyster shells are also given a second life.

Three mouth shapes in total 

Fun fact: all freshwater and saltwater fish have one of three mouth shapes – from the massive mouth of a whale shark to the sharp-toothed mouth of a piranha. The shape is based on their habitat and the way they eat. Depending on the depth at which the fish hunts, its mouth is oriented upwards (superior), downwards (inferior) or forwards (terminal). Fish that feed at the bottom have downward-facing mouths, while fish with forward-facing mouths hunt at any depth.

Where does the fish come from? How and when was it caught? The Pro Trace app even shows the name of the ship, the port and the date of manufacture. This is how METRO ensures more transparency in the supply chains of its products, including fish and meat. The importance of sustainably trading fish for METRO is outlined in the Corporate Responsibility Report.

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