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Fourteen Sea Animals You Probably Didn't Know Were Edible

Updated on May 2, 2015
Shark | Source

Some Eat These Too

As we go from one country to another, we are often times left dumbfounded upon realizing what animals are considered to be delicacies or main dishes in these countries. I oftentimes tell myself that if it is from the sea, I will probably take my chances, for the simple fact that the sea is ‘clean’ (contains salt water which washes away germs or keeps animals clean inside). But is it really so? And would we really eat just about anything from the sea? Well this article will be introducing you to fourteen sea animals which chances are, you had NO idea were edible. Bon Appétit, or maybe pass!

1: Sharks, yes sharks are high among the list of sea animals that you might not have known are edible. Sharks have been eaten in parts of the world by seafarers and local fishermen as a sign of prowess of sorts. It is also believed to boost men’s libido. In Iceland, it is said to be best to let the meat actually start to rot to enjoy it. Many of us are of the view that sharks are among the most dangerous sea animals, but if we can be hunting them for meat, maybe that is but a myth.

2: Whales are also high on our list of sea animals which you probably didn’t know you could eat. Now as if it wasn’t interesting enough that these whales were edible, imagine eating them raw! That’s right, whales are simply a must have in your sushi if you are ever to visit Japan, or a Japanese restaurant! In some other countries, whaling is a hunter's sport. It is suspected that this is how whales eventually landed on our dishes. The meat is quite an expensive delicacy; the tail or fluke meat is more expensive than the belly meat, fetching up to $600 per kilo. Some of these countries include Norway, Iceland, Siberia, Alaska and northern Canada. They mostly have annual whale hunts. However, the whales are becoming endangered in certain countries and as a result, a moratorium has been set up.

3: Crocodile: But then there is also the crocodile meat! Like sharks, crocodiles are believed in parts of the world to boost men’s libido and are also eaten as a sign of prowess. However, in some countries only the tail of the crocodile is consumed, leaving the body to simply be discarded. This practice is also illegal in most countries. Notwithstanding, crocodile meat is served pickled in Cuba and served as a delicacy in some parts of America, Thailand, China and South Africa.

Crocodile Meal
Crocodile Meal | Source

4: Octopus is a sea animal that is consumed after careful preparation, to include boiling properly to get rid of the residual ink which is expelled as a defence mechanism against predators; it is also cleaned of the slime and horrible smell by boiling. Octopus can be prepared by itself or combined in a seafood mix. Octopus is also eaten raw with special sauces in Japan. There are many different types of octopus, which live at different parts of the ocean floor and on reeves, among other places in the sea. Many of them are also venomous, so preparation is not for the average man.

An Octopus Meal
An Octopus Meal | Source

5: Squid is popular in Japan and known as Calamari in Britain and Mediterranean countries. It is also a delicacy and loved in many countries, albeit under a pseudonym of sorts. Like the octopus, there are also many species of squid which are the most highly fished (75.8%) among the cephalopoda class of which it is a part.

6: Cuttlefish: Though less eaten than squid, cuttlefish is popular in Italy and is also a member of the cephalopoda class. It is dried and shredded and served as a snack in parts of Asia. Despite its name coming from its unique inner shell, its cuttlebone, cuttlefish are not by any means in the fish category, but are instead, mollusks.

7: Sea Turtles have long been consumed in different parts of the world, however, the population is fast becoming critically low and as such, many of its species have become endangered, leading to the activity being illegal in many countries. Sea turtles can be herbivorous, carnivorous or omnivorous, depending on the species and are also dried and shredded in parts of Asia and served as a snack.

Sea Turtles
Sea Turtles | Source

8: Pterois or Lionfish is a sea predator and parasite which threatens the fish population as it eats large amounts of baby fish and mollusks. However, as a means of fighting against this problem, they were introduced as a delicacy which soon spread in certain countries. Because of its poisonous fins, however, many people don't bother to go through the trouble of preparing this delicacy which is said to taste better than snapper.

9: Dolphins, I know! That’s just sad eating Free Willy and all, but it is true! Dolphin meat is also consumed in parts of the world, to include Japan. It is also said to be an important source of food for the people of Nunavut. Dolphins are related to the whale family and also have approximately forty species. They feed mostly on squids and fish. If you are sensitive towards dolphins, be sure to find out what is in your seafood mix when travelling to these parts of the world.

10: Manatee meat is said to adapt readily to recipes for beef. In fact, the manatee is known as the cattle of the sea or sea cow and is mostly eaten in parts of West Africa, despite mostly being illegal. Manatees are mostly herbivorous and there are three recognized species of the four species of manatees that formerly existed.

11: Sea Lions are consumed in parts of Alaska. While there is little evidence to say where else sea lions are consumed, if you search, you will find recipes to prepare this delicacy which is said to be a bit chewy. Believed to be stemming from the bear and possible family, the name sea lion is a tad bit misleading as it has little to do with lions. There are six extant and one extinct species of sea lions.

12: Jellyfish is mostly harvested in Southeast Asia for food and has to undergo a rigorous process which can take up to forty days, before being ready for consumption. The are found throughout the ocean, from the very deep to the surface and use their tentacles to capture prey.

13: Krill are like baby shrimp, except that they have many tiny legs and external gills. If you love shrimp, you’ll absolutely love krill, despite the fact that they are usually used as fish bait, possibly because they are under discovered as great seafood. The truth is, many animals are highly dependent on Krill for survival and humans had previously discovered the highly touted Krill Oil. Now we have simply discovered that which the birds and the fish had known all along. Krill is known as Janga in some countries and is a fun beginner's meal for kids who frequent the sea and rivers where they are also usually in abundance.

14: Starfish in China is deep fried and served on a stick. Now if you have had any experience with starfish while at the beach, you’d probably be thinking ‘but isn’t that a shell of sorts for the most part?’ Well apparently so are crabs, yet there is plenty of meat to be had. Starfish also boast many different species: over 1500 and feed on small animals, decomposing organic material or faecal matter.

Starfish | Source

How Adventurous Are You?

Would you try any of these meats?

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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 3 months ago

      Yes, it is interesting what people will eat. There are also the puffer fish. They based an episode of The Simpsons on that one. There is also the angler fish, marketed as the monk fish, probably nothing wrong with them except they are so ugly.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      You are right...I did not know some of these are consumed. some of them are so cute I could not eat one, not one :D

      I have eaten some of them though...and some of them are quite excellent.

      Thanks for the information...

      Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

    • Keisha Hunter profile image

      Keisha Hunter 2 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

      Hi Peggy, I too was surprised. I am yet to try calamari or turtle. Krill oil is a keeper though.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I love a well prepared calamari and have on occasion eaten turtle soup. I take a krill oil capsule daily for heart health. Interesting hub. I did not realize that some of the things featured here were eaten by some people.

    • Keisha Hunter profile image

      Keisha Hunter 2 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

      Lol I suspect that there might be a symbiotic relationship between exotic and gross Peachy! I think one o the other has hidden meaning to suggest a bit of both.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wow, so many sea animals that people do eat, exotic but gross

    • Keisha Hunter profile image

      Keisha Hunter 2 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

      Lol hope it didn't traumatize you too much Besarien. I have been thinking of doing a second hub on these foods since I am getting new weird stuff, but I doubt I am strong enough to even envision some of them. Thanks for stopping by, I am not sure why I am just seeing the notification.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 3 years ago

      Hello Keisha! The rest didn't surprise me much BUT JELLYFISH! I have always had an aversion to jellyfish. I can't explain it. They are just so alien. I feel sorry for the first person that terribly hungry that jellyfish started looking like food to them. I thought I was a fairly adventurous eater too but anything needing 40 days to make edible... well for every reason I can think of I am giving a wide miss to trying it. I am forever grateful you don't have a picture of one on a plate. I think that would haunt my dreams maybe forever. That said- intriguing topic and very informative hub. Well done!

    • Keisha Hunter profile image

      Keisha Hunter 3 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

      Good for you! I've not had that many, but intend to try some more. I didn't enjoy the octopus though, and I love seafood. Bummer. :) The krill and lionfish are lovely.

    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 3 years ago

      I have eaten 5 out of your 14 listed.

      Sea Turtle soup, Squid, Octopus, Whale, and Sharkfin Soup.

      Thumb up for your hub!