Posted by: Jimely Flores | August 1, 2013

Fishbone Stories – Trichiurus lepturus (ribbonfishes)

These are bones of a mature female ribbonfish, Trichiurus lepturus. I bought the fish from the municipal fish market. It costs US$ 4.0 though at other times price could reach as high as US$6.0 depending on the size, freshness and availability. In the big city groceries, average price is US$8.5. This one is quite small and costs me US$1.25.
These fishes are caught in areas with steep continental shelfs. In the Philippines, it is marketed locally while in Indonesia, it is mainly exported to Korea. They are caught in deeper waters usually by baited hook and lines. They are targeted species because of their high market value and really tasty white flesh. However these fishes require more careful handling as their skin sloughs off and rot easily.
Despite the big market and high value, the stocks of this fish is data deficient and no management mechanisms exists. Will there be a time when this bones could only be found in museums and not on the plates as displayed here? I hope not.
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This is a call to the scientists and regulators to give some attention to these fishes before their existence will be relegated to books and museums.

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