Identification & Biology: The scientific name for cobia is Rachycentron canadum, which is derived from two Greek words: rachis (vertebral column) and kentron (sharp point). This name refers to their 7-9 extremely sharp, retractable, dorsal spines. Cobia bears a striking resemblance to a shark. It is the only species in the family Rachycentridae. Remoras (Family Echeneidae) are their closest relative.
Wild cobia: Wild cobia is a migratory pelagic fish with a pretty wide range that is harvested around the world, including in the Mid- and South-Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Cobia are not schooling fish and generally travel alone in search of feed – crabs, squid and other fish. They commercial fishery for Cobia is somewhat limited, which makes them a good choice for aquaculture.
Farmed Cobia: We source farmed Cobia from Open Blue – an innovative aquaculture company working hard to bring a steady supply of farmed cobia to market. They run the largest deep water open ocean mariculture operation in the world. Their farm is located on the Atlantic (north) Coast of Panama, approximately 7.5 nautical miles offshore.
Open Blue is focused on continual improvement in water quality, fish density, carrying capacity, interactions with predators, escapes, humane slaughter, mortality figures, parasites, traceability, feed, and freshwater use
Feed questions, and other environmental impacts like antibiotic and risk of escapes are are limited, but they are areas of concern that the farm is focused on improving.
In addition to their Yellow ranking from Seafood Watch and certification from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Open Blue holds current certifications from Global Gap, Three Star Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP), British Retail Consortium (BRC), ISO 9001 (2015) and Friend of the Sea. Open Blue Cobia is also Kosher and Halal certified.
Chefs love this versatile fish – both wild and farmed varieties. Cobia is delicious raw – making it popular for sushi, sashimi, and ceviche (just be sure to freeze wild fish properly before serving raw). Cobia’s beautiful firm and flavorful flesh lends itself to almost any preparation – grill, broil, pan fry, steam, or enjoy it smoked or cured. The collars make a great meal, so ordering whole or H & G fish will leave with you with a treat! Cobia cooks up firm and delicious with a texture sometimes described as “crab-like”.
New York City’s Cosme featured “cobia al pastor with pineapple puree” and we loved a “tea smoked cobia with cucumber and spruce” featured at Coquette in New Orleans.
Habitat: Tropical and subtropical waters around the world
Flavor Profile: steak like firm flesh, mild flavor
Fishing Technique: Wild: hook & line, Long line. Farmed: open ocean net-pens (Panama)
Suitable sub: Corvina
Buying Tips: Fresh cobia is firm with a fresh smell. We recommend buying whole or H & G fish since the collars make a great dish, and the bones can be scraped for ceviche or other preparations once filleted.
Recommended Preparation: Cobia can be served in so many ways – grill, poach, steam, add to soups and stews, pan-fry, smoke or simply leave it raw.