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Myths and Misconceptions About Fish-Part II

In this article, we will continue to discuss about the myths and misconceptions of fish surrounding us. Let's get the myths debunked!

Raised fish is more toxic because they eat their own poop?

Cultured fish are not toxic unless the management is not regulated in term of the rearing and processing of the product. Emphasis on buying products from trusted farming system is very crucial.  The term eating their own faeces/poop doesn’t imply that the fish ate their own waste, but its more of those species of fish and shrimp that can filter feeds, which means they consume some beneficial bacterial flocs that help up with their growth.


Why does frozen fish has more intense fishy smell? Why they still have fishy smell if they are claimed to be as good as fresh fish?

The intense smell from the fish is due to 2-Methylisoborneol (2-MIB) and geosmin (GSM) (caused by microorganisms such as cyanobacteria- Anabaena spp, Microcystis spp., Oscillatoria spp etc). Due to their high bioaccumulation rates in lipid-rich tissue, even very low concentrations of 2-MIB and GSM in the water can cause an undesirable earthy-musty smell and taste in fish flesh.

Good aquaculture system will always purge the fish in clean water before marketed out to reduce the amount of these microorganism and thus reducing the undesirable smell.


Is it true that fatty fish has more intense fishy smell?

The spoilage rate and shelf life of fish is affected by many parameters such as the fats content, size, the pH of the fish, skin properties, storage method and etc. Especially on fatty fish type like mackerel, rancidification or the process of complete oxidation or hydrolysis of fats and oil when exposed to air, light, moisture or bacteria will result in unpleasant taste and odour.


Written By,

Dr. Anusia, Aquatic Veterinarian



Akintoye, E., Sethi, P., Harris, W. S., Thompson, P. A., Marchioli, R., Tavazzi, L., Latini, R., Pretorius, M., Brown, N. J., Libby, P., & Mozaffarian, D. (2018). Fish Oil and Perioperative Bleeding. Circulation. Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 11(11), e004584.

Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani Malaysia Garispanduan myGAP Malaysia (Putrajaya, MALAYSIA) pp 23-44