7 Gulf Fish That Are Totally OK To Eat

sustainable fishing, overfishing, WWF, Arabian Gulf, Persian Gulf
image via Steve Wozniak

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. 

sustainable fishing, overfishing, WWF, Persian Gulf, Arabian Gulf

image via PR News

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. 

sustainable fishing, overfishing, WWF, Persian Gulf, Arabian Gulf

image via No Eye Deer

 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.

sustainable fishing, overfishing, WWF, Arabian Gulf, Persian Gulf
image via Rock n’ Critters

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.

sustainable fishing, overfishing, WWF, Persian Gulf, Arabian GulfThe Black Streaked Mancole Bream or Ebzimi is an incredible fish. Though this small image might not be a great indicator, the male can reach up to 4kg in size, while the female grows even larger. The female Bream can also live up to 17 years, making it a wonderful, resilient option for fish-eaters in the UAE and beyond.
sustainable fishing, overfishing, WWF, Persian Gulf, Arabian Gulf
The Two Bar Seabream is another great option. Called Faskar in Arabic, this fish also likes to huddle around the reef at depths between 2 and 20 meters.  Be sure to check out EWS-WWF´s wonderful cookbook, which illustrates new, delicious recipes for fish that are not historically popular in the Gulf region.
WWF, sustainable fishing, overfishing, Arabian Gulf, Persian Gulf
The last fish on our list of seven is the Orange Spotted Trevally or Jesh umalhala. Another English name for this fish is the Gold Spotted Trevally, which can grow to be as large as 55cm. This fish is a powerful predator that feeds on a variety of small fish and crustaceans.
More on sustainable fishing in the UAE and elsewhere in the Middle East:
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13 thoughts on “7 Gulf Fish That Are Totally OK To Eat”

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  4. Al says:

    Nothing beats the grand safi in the Persian gulf.

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  7. Educated Arab says:

    I would like to second the comment about the name being Persian Gulf. As an educated Arab from Qatar, I would like to say that even if, for example, Saddam was able to invade Kuwait back in the 90’s and tried to rename it as something else, I am sure the Kuwaitis would still like to be remembered as such. Money and force does not change history and geographical regions.
    So I would personally like to maintain my intellectual integrity, and I invite me other Arab brothers to do the same.

  8. Persian Gulf says:

    Dear Ms Laylin/Stupid (depending who you are talking too),

    I would like to remind you that the body of water south of Iran is called the Persian Gulf, and all other names used is a show of ignorance and incompetence. You have been abusing the term by deleting the “Persian” from it. This is just unacceptable to deliberately change the official name of a region. You cannot simply disregard the fact and call yourselves a legitimate website. The “Sheikhs” may be illiterate, but it’s a safe assumption that you (hopefully) are not illiterate.

    Oil money cannot change history!

    Best regards

  9. Aviva Weisgal says:

    Now that my hubby has been tested for allergies, and can eat fish, it’s good to have this list!

    1. Aviva.

      If you find other fish that should be on this list, let us know.

  10. Norm says:

    In waters that are said to reach temperatures of as high as high a 37 degrees C during the Summer, it’s a wonder these fish can survive at all.

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