WHAT IS AN ORANGE ROUGHY?
Also known as slimeheads, this deep sea fish didn’t look or sound that appetizing. With mucous producing canals on top of bony heads and spiky fins, few restaurants were asking for this fish. That is until New Zealand fisherman launched a marketing campaign under the new name orange roughy. Much like the Chilean sea bass its popularity exploded. However they don’t start to reproduce until at least 20 years of age (with a lifespan of up to 149)! Fish caught in trawler nets average around 40 years in age. However the cold water and highly pressurized environment (up to 5,900 feet / 1800 meters) makes their texture both firm and delicious!
WHERE DO ORANGE ROUGHY COME FROM?
They can be found in both the northern and southern hemispheres, both Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Most of the world’s population today is concentrated around Australia, New Zealand and the northeast Atlantic.
WHEN IS AN ORANGE ROUGHY IN SEASON?
They spawn during the warm summer months of each year for a 1 to 2 week period. However the egg count produced by females (10,000 to 90,000) is quite low compared to most other fish.
WHY DO ROUGHY PRODUCE SLIME?
Slime is actually a defense mechanism for a whole group of aquatic life. Slime both makes it harder for parasites to attach as well as reducing water friction when moving.
ARE ORANGE ROUGHY HIGH IN MERCURY?
Due to their larger size and long life span, they tend to have higher concentrations of mercury. Children and pregnant women should avoid this fish, and everyone else should limit consumption in general. Another factor is their tendency to gather into large groups and a slow rate of reproduction make them highly susceptible to over fishing. While they’re no longer on any endangered species list, they’re still a fish that should only be eaten sporadically at best.