The Ehrenberg Snapper is the first on our list of seven fish in the Gulf region (Persian/Arabian Gulf depending on who you’re talking to) that are totally ok to eat!
There’s a lot of buzz about overfishing, but navigating what is sustainable to eat is not so easy in the Middle East, where we don’t have such well-established research institutes as the Monterey Bay Institute in California. Luckily, we do have the WWF-EWS in the United Arab Emirates, which has been doing an excellent job of tracking which Gulf fish species are overfished, like the popular Hammour, and which populations are able to rebound quickly enough to make their consumption sustainable. In order to make good choices easy, EWS has published a handy picture guide that details the good, the not-so-bad, and the ugly. We’ve listed the good.
The Sordid Sweetlips, or Yanam in Arabic, comes from the Haemulida family that are found in fresh, brackish, and salt water. Their coloring changes throughout their lives, and are so-called because if their large fleshy lips.
The Pink Ear Emperor is known in Arabic as the Shaari Eshkeli. They favor reef/rocky and sandy places and typically eat crustaceans and other small fish.
If you´re anything like me, this Angel fish might just be too cute to eat, but EWS-WWF does have it on their list of sustainable options for the Gulf. Called Anfooz in Arabic and also known as the Red Sea Angelfish, the largest of its species grows up to 20cm.