[Coral-List] questions from a chef

Les Kaufman lesk at bu.edu
Sat Feb 28 13:35:11 EST 2009

> I have some fish queries and was wondering if either of you might  
> be able to answer them or find someone who can
> 1.Every once and a while, when I am fileting the New Zealand  
> Snapper (Pagrus auratus) sort of a porgy or sea bream, there are a  
> few that have these knobby bony growths on the bones between the  
> spine and the anal spine, usually 2-3, progressively smaller  
> towards the tail.  They are round and smooth and look like big  
> pearly blisters around the bones but are seamless appear to be  
> bone.  I have to cut around them and I lose some flesh.  I would  
> like to know what they are.

These are hyperostotic bones (see Smith-Vaniz, W., L. S. Kaufman and  
J. Glowacki.  1995. Species-specific patterns of hyperostosis in  
marine teleost fishes.  Marine Biology 121:573-580).  Hyperostosis is  
a natural condition that is manifested at specific locations in the  
skeletons of a variety of teleost fishes as individuals mature.
> 2. The past 2 pieces of Big Eye tuna that we have gotten have these  
> flecks of hematoma closest to the skin.  They are about an inch  
> long and cannot be cut or cooked out.  How does a fish get these?   
> Poor handling, stress or other?

Not sure but most likely post-mortem.
> 3. I was butchering a wild sturgeon today (at least that is what  
> the invoice says) and when I took the skin off I found what looked  
> like a tiny LED light on my cutting board.  About 3/4 of an inch  
> long and the thickness of a Bic pen ink tube,  It was clear on one  
> side and black on the other and there was what looked like a tiny  
> light in the clear side...sort of like a capsule.  I don't know  
> where else it could have come from.  Could it be a tracking  
> instrument or something?  I kept it.

Without actually seeing it, that sounds a lot like an acoustic tag  
with a daylight sensor...but not exactly, either.  One thing to keep  
in mind is that some of the sturgeon most likely to have our  
contraptions in them are threatened and endangered species that  
should not be showing up in the market.  Aquacultured sturgeon may  
have tech devices for ID or tracking but they are usually much  
smaller than what you describe (e.g. pit tags).  Send it to one of  
the folks who respond to your query for identification.  It might be  
possible to figure out who stuck it in there.  Where was the fish from?
> Thank you.
> Aurelie C. Shapiro
> Remote Sensing Specialist
> World Wildlife Fund - US
> 1250 24th street NW room 2015A
> Washington DC, 20037
> *new phone number* 202 495-4183
> fax - 202 293-9211
> http://www.wwfus.org/science
Les Kaufman
Professor of Biology
Associate Director
Boston University Marine Program
Senior PI
Marine Management Area Science
Conservation International


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