Can You Eat Remora Fish?

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With so many species of fish found in the water, it can be a challenge to know which fish are good for catching and serving up hot and which should be cast out into the water. One of the more unique types of fish you may come across at some point is the remora fish.

Can you eat remora fish? Remora fish are referred to as suckerfish because they suction cup themselves onto a much larger host. Because of that, they are a challenge to catch. If you do manage to catch a remora fish, you should know that they are safe to consume, although they do not provide much meat and make for much better bait.

Knowing the facts behind the remora fish will help you to decide whether or not you should eat it, use it as bait, or simply toss it back into the ocean. We are going to discuss what the remora fish is and how to catch one. We will also give you some insight into how to eat or use this fish in a better way.

About the Remora Fish

The remora fish is commonly referred to as a suckerfish or a hitchhiker fish. This is due to the simple fact that remora fish will suction cup themselves onto a much larger host. The remora fish does this for a wide variety of reasons, including:

  • They feed off the scraps of their host. Anything that the much larger fish does not consume will be floating past the remora fish, and he is free to devour these leftovers. This makes consuming the food he needs a cinch, and he almost never has to worry about where his food comes from.
  • They get a free ride from the host. By suctioning themselves to the host they get a free ride through the water. This is ideal because the remora fish must have constant water moving through their gills in order to survive. Does this mean the remora can’t swim? Of course, not! They just prefer to take the easier route.
  • They might find a mate along the ride. It’s easier than ever for a remora fish to find true love. As they’re gliding through the water on their host, they can easily come into contact with another attractive remora, which makes mating quick and simple.

Now, keep in mind that just because the remora suctions to a host fish, it does not mean that he cleans the host fish. They are simply going for a free trip and enjoying the food and mates that come along the way. They are not ‘leeches’ in any capacity.

The remora fish will likely change hosts often when he finds a better opportunity. However, the remora fish must be careful when choosing a good host. Choosing a shark to suction onto can sometimes be fatal for the remora, as the shark finds him to be a tasty treat rather than someone coming along for the ride.

Remora Fish Appearance

The overall appearance of the remora fish is unique and obvious when you come across one. They look like actual suction cups, with gills being extremely pronounced with curvature around the entire area to be able to attach to the host.

The remora fish will be one of three colors black, brown, or gray. Some of these fish will come complete with lines striped across their bodies horizontally. In terms of size, that can vary quite distinctly. However, the most commonly found remora fish will be around 15 to 20 inches long and 2 to 3 pounds.

How to Catch a Remora Fish

Wanting to get your hands on one of these tasty suckers? (No pun intended). Well, that is going to be quite a challenge. After all, remora fish do not travel in schools. Instead, they suction themselves to a host fish.

To put it simply, your best odds of catching a remora fish is to catch his host while he is still attached. Otherwise, you are going to have a hard time catching the remora fish, which isn’t one to swim around the water all too often.

Since this particular fish is so challenging to catch, a lot of anglers have decided to leave this fish alone entirely. It’s not really worth the catch anyways, considering it won’t provide much substance or flavor and really has no purpose to humans whatsoever.

That being said, what happens if you do end up catching one of these hitchhiking fishes? What should you do with it?

Can You Eat a Remora Fish?

If you are so lucky to have a remora fish at the end of your line, then your first question will likely be ‘What do I do with this thing?’ Well, you actually have a couple of different options when it comes to the remora fish. Let’s dive in:

  • You can safely eat remora fish. But, that doesn’t mean you should. In fact, if you told your buddies you were serving up piping hot remora fish for dinner they might look at your square-eyed. That is due to the simple fact that remora fish have little to no meat to offer the consumer.

In terms of flavor, it would probably be determined by how well you season it. It is unlikely for a remora fish to have too much flavor on its own since there is so little meat in the first place. It may also be harder to cook than other meatier fish.

The good news is, is that if you do try to consume a remora fish you are guaranteed a quick and easy cleaning. The fish is completely boneless after removing the lateral line, so there won’t be any worries of pesky bones cracking your teeth while chewing. That’s always a plus!

Overall, the lack of meat,  the inability to flavor properly, and the challenge to cook make the remora fish unlikely to be a great fish to consume.

  • Toss it back in. While this might not be the funniest thing for an angler to do, it is probably the best choice. There is not much for the remora fish to offer you, so it is best to let him dive back into the water and enjoy his hitchhiking lifestyle some more.
  • Use the remora fish as bait. If you’re absolutely against a catch-and-release lifestyle, then there is still some use for the remora fish. However, keep in mind (again) that the remora has little to no meat and may not be the best bait. It can still get the job done, but you shouldn’t rely solely on your remora fish catch to be the bait for the rest of your trip.

To put it simply, the remora fish isn’t a very exciting catch and isn’t one you are likely to consume or use for bait, although you can. The best option is probably to let this sucker go back into the sea and try your hand at catching another type of fish to be your take-home prize.


The remora fish is a uniquely designed fish that suction cups onto a larger host for food, travel, and finding potential mates. Since they are suckerfish, they are almost impossible to catch. Should you find a remora fish at the end of your line the best option is to toss it back or use it as bait. It’s safe to consume, but there is hardly any meat or flavor.

About The Author

1 thought on “Can You Eat Remora Fish?”

  1. Hi, Steven
    Great article, however I think you should look a little more into the diet of the remora.
    I think it’s a little more specialized then you expressed above. Also a bit more gross.

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