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American Paddlefish Farmed Fish Fact Sheet

This publication  American Paddlefish FNR-625-W is the fifth in a series of consumer guides that describe fish and shellfish farmed in the Midwest region of the United States. The fact sheet also includes culinary characteristics, cooking tips and a recipe for Zesty Grilled Paddlefish.

Paddlefish lack scales and bones, with one exception— the have a jawbone. They have smooth skin that is similar in appearance to sturgeon, also a scaleless fish in the order Acipenseriformes, and have skeletons comprised primarily of cartilage. They have small eyes, large mouths, large tapering gill covers, and shark-like tails. They are dark bluish gray, with lighter sides and white bellies. Their most distinguishing feature is their elongated snout, called a rostrum, which looks like a paddle.

There are only two known paddlefish species- one native to the Mississippi River basin, and one which was native to the Yangtze River in China. The Chinese paddlefish is believed to have been extinct2 for some time now, making paddlefish a uniquely North American fish. Paddlefish are primarily produced for caviar, although the meat makes for great table fare. Paddlefish are commercially harvested from the wild, farmed, and even ranched. Paddlefish products are specialty items and, therefore, can be a little hard to find. Paddlefish products can be purchased from restaurants, specialty stores, and directly from producers.

Resources:
Walleye Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Pacific White Shrimp Farmed Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Yellow Perch Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Tilapia Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Rainbow Trout Farmed Fish Fact Sheet, The Education Store
Eat Midwest Fish, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant online resource hub
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG), Illinoi-Indiana Sea Grant

Amy Shambach, Aquaculture Marketing Outreach Associate
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources/Illinois Indiana Sea Grant Program


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