Gaping In Tropical Fishes


What causes Gaping in Tropical Fishes?

In: Biology

Gaping is an issue in all commercial food-fishes. Basically, fish muscles (meat) exist in layers that are connected and held together with a different material. This connective material breaks down differently than the muscle issue. Normally, a fresh fish filet is, well, fresh and both the muscles and the connective tissue are present and strong, giving the surface of the filet a solid, slimy appearance. When the filet is cooked the connective tissue breaks down and the muscles can be “separated” from each into flakes easily with a fork. As a filet sits out or is handled improperly the connective tissue can breakdown prior to cooking and the muscles start to flake and separate, or “gape”, as the filet sits. This is undesirable as it’s a sign the filet isn’t fresh or has been handled roughly, for example being frozen, thawed and frozen, or that the filet was harvested from the fish be unskilled fish mongers.