Sport Fishing - - FISH FACTS - — Ray Waldner

On a Baja Web fo­rum, I posted that pro­vide ev­i­dence for why this prac­tice should be done?

James Ha­mada Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia

Con­trary to one widely held be­lief, blood doesn’t nor­mally carry bac­te­ria that would be in­volved in spoilage — if it did, fish would have chronic in­fec­tions through­out their lives. How­ever, blood might give fishes’ flesh a strong, gamy fla­vor if it’s al­lowed to re­main in their mus­cles after death. This is es­pe­cially true of strongly swim­ming fishes that have large amounts of highly vas­cu­lar­ized red mus­cle. Thus, in most species, the rea­son for drain­ing blood is to pre­vent the blood from al­ter­ing the taste of a fish’s flesh.

Some fish, such as tu­nas, are het­erother­mic, mean­ing their body tem­per­a­tures are well above that of the sur­round­ing sea­wa­ter but still vary as the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture varies. The phys­i­o­log­i­cal ba­sis for the el­e­vated body tem­per­a­tures in­volves the ar­range­ment of blood ves­sels that al­lows heat trans­fer be­tween ves­sels, al­low­ing more heat to re­main in­side the fishes’ bod­ies. In th­ese species, re­mov­ing the blood al­lows a fish to cool down more rapidly and helps pre­vent it from spoil­ing or “cook­ing” from its own body-gen­er­ated heat.

Fi­nally, blood can serve as a growth medium for bac­te­ria, so once it leaves a fish’s cir­cu­la­tory sys­tem, it can pro­mote spoilage — es­pe­cially if a fish isn’t prop­erly cooled. The best way to en­sure hav­ing the high­est qual­ity:

• Open the cav­ity that con­tains the heart (the peri­car­dial cav­ity, lo­cated in the fleshy space be­low the back part of a fish’s gill cov­ers) and cut the large ves­sel com­ing out of the front of the heart.

• Let the blood drain from the

cir­cu­la­tory sys­tem.

• Re­move the fish’s gills and vis­cera. • Lightly rinse the fish in salt wa­ter to re­move as much re­main­ing blood as pos­si­ble.

• Then pack the fish in ice.

With tuna, it’s also a good idea to sever the spinal cord be­hind the head to pre­vent nerve im­pulses from reach­ing the fish’s mus­cles, which can gen­er­ate ad­di­tional heat and help pro­mote spoilage.


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