Here are which fish you can eat at Christmas and which you can’t


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At Christmas, fish takes center stage on the tables of almost all of Italy, but there are few fish that can be eaten without risk to the ecosystem; some would be better avoided at all, leaving them in the sea if one does not want to cause major damage to the species and the environment. If you are also thinking of having a fish dinner be careful, here you will find which fish you can eat and which you cannot. The IUCN Red List is a key tool for informing anyone about the risk of extinction of species, animal or plant, and from the list we understand which seven fish we can bring to the table without too much concern and which seven we really should not buy. We would like to remind all our readers that buying local fish not only helps the economy of small and medium-sized fishermen, but is also a guarantee of certain provenance, which is often hazy when it comes to fish that arrive from abroad.


MUGGAGE or CEFALO(Mugil cephalus)

It reproduces fairly quickly and away from the Christmas season, is very common and widespread in the Mediterranean, is sold caught or raised, and its very tasty meat is coveted in cooking.

ALLITERATED TUNA(Euthynnus alletteratus)

It is marketed as palamita under EEC Regulation 1536/92, this fish of the family Scombridae has meat similar to that of bluefin tuna, excellent both cooked and raw. Its reproductive phase ends in September.

LAMPUGA(Coryphaena hippurus)

A migratory species with a rapid growth rate, it is also found in the Mediterranean and its meat is truly versatile in the kitchen: fried, stewed, baked, it is a candidate for the star of the Christmas Eve Dinner.

ANCHOID or ALICE(Engraulis encrasicolus)

Often associated with the sardine, it actually has a more elongated and slender body with a larger head. Spawning ends in November and it is one of the most heavily fished and most used fish in cooking in our country.

GALLINELLA or GOAT(Chelidonichthys lucerna)

A fish found on the sandy bottoms of the Mediterranean, it is excellent baked or stewed, but its tender white flesh also lends itself to frying.

EYE(Oblada melanura)

A fish very similar to the bream, it spawns in spring-summer and populates the rocky shores of the Mediterranean. Its lean, firm meats are great grilled or barbecued, even and especially at Christmas.

GATTUCCIO(Scyliorhinus canicula)

A shark of the family Scyliorhinidae, it is fished throughout the Mediterranean Sea but in Italy it plays a leading role in cooking especially in Sardinia and the Adriatic Sea.




SALMON(Salmo salar)

Widely consumed throughout Italy, it is not found in the Mediterranean but has almost disappeared even from the Atlantic (the wild one). Farmed ones come to us.

TOOTH (Dentexdentex)

A highly coveted fish and therefore much fished, it has a slow growth rate, which is why it is on the Red List as a vulnerable species.

NORTHERN MEREL(Gadus macrocephalus)

Listed on the Red List as vulnerable because it is fished in larger quantities each year. Young (sexually immature) specimens in particular are at risk.


At risk are many stocks that do not have sustainable management. Capture of mature females is prohibited.

BROWN CERNIA(Epinephelus marginatus)

An endangered species, it has very slow growth rates, and indiscriminate fishing over the past 20 years has created quite a biological imbalance in the species.

SWORDFISH(Xiphias gladius)

The Mediterranean population has been endangered by overfishing; in addition, often the gears used for its fishing cause accidental damage to seabirds and turtles.

FISHING FROG(Lophius piscatorius)

Stock management has no clear regulation, commercial fishing is destroying this species which also starts its reproductive phase right in winter.



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