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9 Freaky Fish You Should Be Eating

9. Walking catfish (Florida)
The walking catfish is native to Southeastern Asian countries, but has become invasive in southern Florida, and is at risk for becoming invasive in other states. It was introduced to the U.S. in the 1960s, probably as a result of the aquarium trade, and after attempts to farm the fish commercially here. The walking catfish is unusual because it is able to live out of water for short periods, and even to move short distances over land. This allows it to take advantage of flooded fields, canals, and even rainy days to expand its territory. This fish has previously invaded several eastern coastal states and Nevada, but as of 2011, has been eradicated from all locations except for Florida. Like many types of aquatic invasive species, the walking catfish is a voracious eater and will consume a wide variety of foods including small fish, insects, plant material and detritus. Its eating habits may help it to outcompete other predators in ponds and it can quickly establish itself as the dominant species in new areas. This type of catfish is viewed as a delicacy in much of Southeastern Asia, and especially in India — and can be eaten as any other type of catfish. Contaminants unknown, no incidents reported.

More from Food & Water Watch
Download the Smart Seafood Guide pocket guide
See the Smart Seafood Guide: Dirty Dozen for the fish that fail.

Read more: Basics, Diet & Nutrition, Environment, Food, Wildlife

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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3:13PM PST on Jan 21, 2014

why do we have to eat fish? animals' love ends where fish begins ? they also suffer, like other animals !

8:07AM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

I don't's kind've difficult to imagine eating them after seeing their cute little faces! As for the walking catfish! How cool! Evolution anyone??

4:02AM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

The 4 crustaceans listed are not fish; they are invertebrates.

12:40AM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

I do eat as far up the evolutionary chain as seafood -- wild- and sustainably-caught only -- and I'd definitely eat these if they were available. Bring it on!

We should submit this list of invasive species and the threat they pose to the FDA, as it's considering approving the manufactured, and almost-inevitably invasive new species of Frankenfish salmon. Oh, sure -- they'll stay in the fish farms and never escape into the wild [sarcasm]!

8:12PM PDT on Jun 13, 2013


3:52PM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

Thanks , will try to emember!!!!

1:50PM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

I love seafood and a good part of that is on the "don't eat list", so I'll give the Freaky guys a go and see what happens. Thanks for the info...

9:11AM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

What? no snakehead.?

8:33AM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

Wow, a wealth of info here. Thanks!

8:31AM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

I am a seafood lover. This is information that I will take in and comprehend. Thank you.

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