Fly­ing Fish

flying fishFish! Fish!… Get yuh Fly­ing Fish!… Fish! Fish! This com­mon cry is often heard ema­nat­ing from fish mar­kets around the island, after their fish­ing ves­sels return to port laden with the delicacy.

Fly­ing Fish is a major part of Bar­ba­dian cul­ture and his­tory and at one time it was the dom­i­nat­ing force in the islands fish­ing indus­try. In fact, when the fish was in greater abun­dance in the islands waters, Bar­ba­dos was nick­named “the land of the fly­ing fish”.

So heavy was the prod­ucts influ­ence that today the his­toric impor­tance of this fly­ing fish is still reflected in mod­ern cul­ture; it image can be found on the sil­ver dol­lar, on all paper cur­rency, on the Bar­ba­dos pass­port, in our logos (i.e. the Bar­ba­dos tourism author­ity, in muse­ums and art­work and it remains the tasti­est ingre­di­ent in the national dish, Cou Cou & Fly­ing Fish.

As, the name implies, a fly­ing fish is known for its remark­able abil­ity to “fly”! In ancient times it was believed that at night the fish would fly out of the sea and sleep on clos­est the shore, caus­ing it to be labeled as “Exo­coeti­dae” the sci­en­tific and latin name for fly­ing fish trans­lated lit­er­ally as “sleep­ing outside”.

While is easy to assume that these warm water, fish FLY, in actu­al­ity the fish glides through the air… The fish moves its tail up to 70 times per sec­ond to swim quickly towards the sur­face, then bursts into the air at top speeds of 70 kilo­me­tres per hour (43 mph). It then spreads its long, wing-​like, pec­toral fins, tilts them slightly upward for max­i­mum lift, and “surfs on air” on the updrafts cre­ated by air and ocean currents.

Records indi­cate that fly­ing fish can glide for as much as 400 m (1,300 ft), their 25cm bod­ies can be in flight for up to 45 sec­onds and they can pro­pel them­selves up to 6 meters (20ft) in the air and jump right into a boat. Notably, the sixty-​four known species of the Fly­ing fish usu­ally “fly” to escape preda­tors (dol­phins, tuna, mar­lin, birds, squids and por­poises) and is also a pop­u­lar com­mer­cial fish in Asia and other Caribbean islands such as Trinidad & Tobago.

Fish­ing In Bar­ba­dos
Cou Cou & Fly­ing Fish — Recipe
Restau­rants Direc­tory
Bar­ba­dos Fish Markets

Cur­rent Edi­tion of Caribbean Dreams Magazine

“Photo sourced from John Hen­der­son at The Den­ver Post”

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