Pomfret Fish | 25 Super Important Facts For Beginners |

Pomfret fish is a delicious food sold on the market with a high price tag.

They are often deep-bodied, shaped like a teardrop, and can grow to lengths of more than 1 meter (3 ft) and weigh up to 3.3 kilograms.

They are often marketed as “whitefish” because their meat is white and has a flaky texture.

In this article, we will discuss more on pomfret fish. We will cover where they live, how to identify them, why they are pricey, the health benefits of pomfret fish, and how to prepare them.

Pomfret fish

What is Pomfret fish

They are perciform fishes belonging to the family Bramidae. They are pelagic fishes that live in the tropical regions of the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans.

There are seven genera in the family, containing about 20 species. One of these genera, Xenobrama, is monotypic. 

Most of these fish are found in the high seas. Pomfret fish are distributed throughout the tropical regions of the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans.

They tend to prefer deep subtropical waters. The most common species (in terms of commercial importance) is Brama brama, found in shallow coastal waters throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

Pomfret fish can grow up to 100 cm (3 ft) and weigh up to 3.3 kilograms.

They are often marketed as “whitefish” because their meat is white and has a flaky texture.

How Pomfret fish looks like

Most species in this family share the same shape, while some have long fins and smaller bodies. Here, we explain the most common form of them.

Color

Most species in this family have silver-colored bodies, while the golden Pomfret has yellowish fins in a silver-colored body.

Shape 

Pomfret fish have a compressed head and smaller mouths, with a teardrop-shaped body.

Their dorsal fins and anal fins stretch from the top to bottom of their bodies (from head to tail). They also have deeply forked caudal fins and a deep body.

Size

Pomfret fish size varies among species, but the largest have a maximum length of up to 1 meter.

Where Pomfret fish live

You can find most fish in the tropical regions of the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. They are abundant in subtropical waters in the high seas.

They are predominately pelagic, but they do not live in arctic and subarctic waters. Some pomfret fish species prefer to live in shallower waters that surround landmasses.

What they eat

Young pomfret fishes usually live in the deep sea and feed on small crustaceans like Lucifer and Acetes.

When these fish grows up, their habitats change to mid waters so are their eating habits. Adult fishes feed on zooplankton, salpids, hydromedusae, and ctenophore.

Pomfret fish reproduction

They are egg-laying fish that reproduce via external fertilization. They have a long spawning season from May to August, and their peaks are May and August.

During these times, pomfret fishes spawn. The female Pomfret lays eggs on the water surface, where the male fertilizes them externally.

Matured females are larger than males, and males become mature before females at lengths of 12.5–14.4 cm.

On the other hand, females become mature at lengths of 20.5–22.4 cm.

Once the adult fish finish spawning, the eggs drift away to the deep ocean and hatch. The young fish tend to live in the deep sea until they become mature.

Then these fish swims to the pelagic area.

Pomfret fish

What are the different types of Pomfret fish?

There are about 20 species of pomfret fish that belong to seven genera. Among them, only about three pomfret types are popular as food fish.

Other fish species are most abundant in the deep sea and rarely seen.

The other three fishes (listed below) known as pomfrets are not true pomfrets (Bramidae) but have similar characteristics to Bramidae.

Atlantic Pomfret

Brama Brama, commonly called Ray’s bream, Atlantic Pomfret, is the most caught fish in the commercial trade. This pomfret species is popular as a food fish in Africa and Asia.

The ray’s bream have a long, slender body with silvery coloration.

It also has a flat head with an upper jaw longer than the lower one, a wide mouth with many teeth adapted for crushing hard-shelled prey like mollusks and crustaceans.

They also have large scales that are easily removed even by rough handling. Rays bream fish can grow up to 100 cm in length and weigh up to 3.3 kilograms (7.2 lb).

Pacific Pomfret

Also known as Brama Japonica, Pacific pomfret is quite similar to Brama Brama and is also called Japanese Pomfret.

It is fished throughout the Indo-Pacific region, namely Japan, eastern Africa (Kenya, Madagascar), and northern Australia.

The young fish feed on tiny crustaceans like copepods or krill, but adults feed on fish larvae and small fish at night.

Their diet makes this fish unattractive to some fishermen because these fish are taken in with other catch.

Pacific Pomfret can grow up to 61 cm in length and weigh up to 2.7 kilograms.

Indian Pomfret

Also known as Brama Dussumieri, Indian Pomfret is another species of the ray’s bream fish. It is a medium-sized fish with silvery coloration and a deeply forked tail fin.

You can find these fish throughout the Indo-Pacific region, namely India, Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia), and northern Australia.

The Indian Pomfret has soft flesh that becomes white when cooked. Hence it is known as white Pomfret. This type of fish is mostly eaten in Southeast Asia and India.

Pomfret fish

Silver Pomfret

Also called Pampus argentus, silver pomfret is a popular food fish in the countries where it is caught (Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia). They primarily feed on fish larvae and small fish.

Silver Pomfrets are not true pomfrets (Bramidae) but a species of Butterfish. Silver pomfrets can grow up to 60 cm in length and weigh up to 4-6 kilograms.

These fish spawns from October to December in the Indian Ocean. Young fish can be found from January to March in the coastal, while adult fish are caught from April to June.

Silver pomfret is one of the most expensive fish in the market, especially in Kuwait.

Pomfret fish

Chinese Pomfret

Scientifically known as Pampus Chinensis, Chinese Pomfret is the most sought-after Pomfret because of its taste and texture.

However, this is not a true pomfret. Chinese Pomfret is a species of Butterfish that grows up to 40cm in length.

Chinese Pomfret is silvery in color and has a deeply forked tail fin. You can find these fish along the southeast coast of China, Korea, and Japan.

Pomfret fish

Grey Pomfret

Scientifically known as Pampus Sinesis, Grey pomfret is larger and heavier than silver Pomfret, and it is grey in color.

Grey pomfrets are mostly found in the gulf of Klutch than in the Southern regions. Grey pomfret is a Butterfish species, not a Bramidae species.

Black Pomfret

Black Pomfret (Parastromateus niger) is also not a true pomfret (Bramidae) but has similar characteristics with a dark grey color body.

Their habitats are lagoon reefs, where they feed primarily on small fishes. Black pomfrets can be found in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, South China Sea, Southeast Asia, and Australia. This fish can be 75cm long.

Pomfret fish

How long can Pomfret fish live?

Like most species of fish, they can live for a certain amount of time.

Most species of pomfret fish live for eight years old or less, while some species can reach up to fifteen years old.

Importance of Pomfret fish

They are important as food fish. They are also important to anglers because they are abundant in the deep sea of tropical regions.

Some species are harvested commercially, while recreational fishers harvest some.

It is very delicious with its flaky meat, just like other fishes in the Perciformes family.

There is an excellent commercial demand for them, especially for grey pomfret than silver Pomfret.

locals preferred to eat deep-fried pomfret fish with fish sauce. If you do not like deep-fried fish you can pan-fry them with a bit of rice flour.

If you’re a pomfret fish lover, you can catch your own Pomfret with a fishing rod. You just have to use small bait or lures and set your fishing line in the deep sea of around 60 feet deep.

Is Pomfret a healthy fish?

Yes. it is a healthy fish because it is a good source of protein.

They have a high level of highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA), which help to lower the total blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL-C or bad cholesterol.

At the same time, it increases HDL-C good cholesterol in people’s bodies compared with other fishes like tuna and grouper.

Pomfret fish has high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to prevent heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.

They also have low mercury content compared with other deep-sea fishes.

What are the health benefits of pomfret fish?

Cholesterol reduction

Omega-3 fatty acids found in this can reduce triglycerides, LDL-C, or bad cholesterol while increasing HDL-C good cholesterol in human bodies.

Prevention of cancer

It has a high amount of selenium which is associated with reduced risk for colon and prostate cancers.

Lowering the risk of heart disease

Pomfret fish has a high level of highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA), which help to lower the total blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL-C or bad cholesterol.

At the same time, it increases HDL-C good cholesterol in human bodies compared with other fishes like tuna and grouper.

What are the other names of pomfret fish?

Other Pomfret fish names are:

  • Brama brama (English name)
  • Pompano de bec or capucin (French name)
  • Saumonette beure ou saumonette rousse (French name)
  • Havbrasen (Denmark)
  • Brachsenmakrele (Germany)
  • Castanola (Spain) 
  • Braam (Netherlands)
  • Castagnola (Italy)

Why is pomfret fish costly?

Price is often dependent on size because it will take longer to reach a larger size.

Even pomfret fish that is not yet matured will cost more than other fishes because of its delicious taste and nutritional value.

Are there any diseases caused by eating pomfret fish?

No, it is safe to eat. Their flesh has high-quality protein and Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart.

However, even these fish can be allergic to some people, just like any other fish.

Pomfret contains a trace concentration of naturally occurring mercury, which is a metal that can be hazardous to your health if consumed in larger quantities.

Women who are pregnant or nursing and young children should avoid eating large amounts of Pomfret for this reason.

Which Pomfret is more expensive?

Chinese Pomfret is more expensive than other types of Pomfret because they have a better taste and a soft texture.

What is the price of Pomfret fish?

The price of a fresh Chinese pomfret costs around $8 to $10 per pound, while a fresh Indian pomfret costs around $3 to $6 per pound.

The best time to buy a good quality pomfret is from September to February.

Where can you buy pomfret fish?

You can buy fresh fish fillets almost anywhere in California or any other state where this fish is common.

However, if you want to purchase live Chinese Pomfret, try Petaluma Fish Company, Inc. in Petaluma, CA.

What is pomfret fish called in the USA?

They are called “butterfish” and “pompano” in the USA.

Pomfret is one of the most popular food fish in Asia and can be found along the coastlines of California, Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida.

Which Pomfret fish is good for health?

Although Chinese Pomfret is the most expensive, the healthiest pomfret fish is actually the silver pomfret.

The silver pomfret is also known as Indian Butterfish or paplet. Silver pomfrets are delicious and rich in protein and Omega 3 fatty acids than other pomfret species.

Can a pregnant lady eat pomfret fish?

Yes. Pregnant women can eat pomfret fish without worrying about mercury.

However, a pregnant woman should watch the amount of pomfret fish she eats to avoid consuming too much of it because it has 1ppm of mercury in its flesh.

While 1ppm is the permissible amount, overeating is not recommended for pregnant ladies.

What is the price for silver pomfrets?

The silver pomfret will cost you around $3 to $6 per pound.

A kilogram or 2 pounds of fresh Silver Pomfret costs around $10 to $14.

How do you choose Pomfret?

A good pomfret fish will have firm flesh and bright color. They also have a fresh aroma, which is similar to cucumber.

A rotten Pomfret fish will have some yellowish color with a slimy surface or dry surface.    

Another way to check goo Pomfret is checking out their gill color. When you hold a pomfret with its stomach showing, you should check out the gills.

A good-quality pomfret will have red gills that are bright and easily noticeable by the naked eye.

Pomfret fish recipe

Pomfret fish can be cooked in many different ways. You can prepare it fried, grilled, roasted, boiled and baked.

However, the most popular pomfret fish recipe is the stir-fried pomfret fillets.

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this dish: 

2  pomfrets, cut into 1-inch cubes, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil,  1/2 onion sliced thinly, 2 garlic cloves minced and ginger julienned, 1 red bell pepper cut into thin strips, 1 green bell pepper cut into thin strips, and salt to taste.

How to make stir-fry pomfret fish

Prepare all the above ingredients before turning on the fire. In a wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium to high heat.

Prepare the whole fish first, then season it with salt and put it into the wok immediately after you smell the fish frying.

Stir fry the dish for about 2 minutes or until the Pomfret is cooked thoroughly. Remove all ingredients from the pan and set them aside on your serving plates after they are cooked.

Do not pour out oil from the wok as you cook other ingredients. Add more oil if needed and continue cooking until all ingredients are cooked well.

Serve pomfret fish hot with rice or noodles on the side.

What does Pomfret fish taste like?

Pomfret fish has a rich and delicate texture. It is often compared with lobster because both of these fishes have similar textures, even though pomfret fish is a lot cheaper than lobster.

Pomfret fish has a sweet and delicate taste compared to Alaskan king crab or split lobster tail.

Related Questions

Are Pomfret fish poisonous?

Pomfret fish are generally not poisonous. However, they also contain mercury in their flesh, just like other fish.

Although a little bit of mercury is not toxic, the pomfret fish you buy has roughly 1ppm of mercury in their flesh.

So, consuming large amounts is not advised. Other than that, black pomfrets are believed to cause diarrhea in some people. So, many people tend to avoid black pomfrets.

Are Pomfret harmful to health?

No. Pomfrets are not considered dangerous to human beings in any way, even though they have mercury levels in their flesh.

The maximum amount of mercury found in pomfrets is 1ppm which is the permissible level for eating this fish. 

Where are pomfrets caught?

Pomfret fish can be found in almost all bodies of water around the world.

However, they are mainly harvested from Southeast Asia due to the commercialization of pomfret fishing.       

Conclusion 

Pomfret fish are perciform fishes that are found in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. They are popular as food fish and are sold at the market at a high price range.

Pomfret flesh is delicious and flavorful and can be cooked in many different ways. They have a delicate texture that is often compared with lobster.

Pomfrets are also nutritionally rich, although they have small concentrations of mercury.

If you are a seafood lover, you should definitely try pomfret fish and discover its flavors for yourself. 

Credit to Children’s Sports and Art Teaching
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.