It has been said that these little fish are known as the jewels of the Mediterranean.
However as we are fortunate to be spoilt with so many kinds of fish and seafood, the Mediterranean could be considered a treasure chest of jewels!
Known as Raó in Menorquin, Raor in Spanish and Razorfish in English, these small bright pink fish are found in the Mediterranean Sea and also in parts of the Atlantic Ocean.
What makes this particular fish considered a jewel is because the season for fishing them is so limited and mastering the technique quite a challenge. To protect the spieces, allow the fish to reach maturity and procreate during the summer months, there is a ban on fishing Raó until the 1st September each year.
The vast majority are pink which is the female, the males are larger and a light blue colour. Raó are a hermaphroditic species; all fish are born female and change to male in adult life when they reach a length of 17cms. The blue toned males have a maximum length of 30 cms and can live up to 7 -8 years. If fortunate not to be caught by a skilled local fisherman!
These Pearly Razorfish live not too far off shore, in a sandy seabed free of rocks and plants with a maximum depth of 40 m. This is because when threatened they dive into the sand to protect themselves. You can see a clever video of them doing this at Fish Index (English).
As attractive as they are, they are an aggressive fish with a fine set of vampire style fangs. As most fishermen know, they will attempt to bite of your finger in defense as you remove the hook from their mouth!
Due to the scarcity of Raó and the limited fishing season the price of the fish can vary greatly depending on its availability and can be priced up to €100/kg.
Easy to clean, cook and eat, Raó are best enjoyed on their own lightly fried in sunflower oil.
Another delicious treat!
See the Raó cooked and ready to eat here at Natura Mundi (Spanish).