Here in the US, the idea of eating dolphin meat is considered distasteful, and many people assume it is illegal even to catch them. While it is unlawful to capture or eat them in many places, dolphin meat is still served, and people still hunt them.
Although relatively few countries openly serve dolphins, some like Japan still do. What does dolphin taste like?
Dolphin meat has a flavor similar to beef liver. However, be aware that dolphin meat is high in mercury content because dolphins swim in contaminated waters. Mercury has a metallic flavor that affects the taste of the meat as well, even as it signifies danger and contamination.
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What Does Dolphin Meat Taste Like
Dolphin meat most often tastes like a metallic beef liver because of the high mercury content. While some people find the flavor pleasing and don’t mind the risks, others dislike beef liver.
Unfortunately, the liver is one of those love-it-or-hate-it foods that doesn’t appeal to everyone.
When blood leaves your stomach and intestines, it gets filtered through your liver. Not only does your liver serve to create nutrients, but it also metabolizes drugs like medicine into a more biologically accessible format for your body.
It’s no surprise that this blood-filled, toxin filtering organ is a common analogy for dolphin meat. Like mercury, blood has a strong metallic flavor, though generally more distinctly coppery.
Does Dolphin Taste Good
Whether anything, including dolphin, tastes good is a highly personal matter. The phrase ‘matter of taste’ encompasses people’s visual preferences and much more, but it directly refers to how deeply humans are tied to their individual taste buds.
However, those who dislike ‘fishy’ flavors may be surprised by dolphin. Dolphins are not fish. They are small whales, which means they’re mammals.
Fish is generally just classified as ‘fish.’ However, fowl and mammal meats get uncategorized into red and white meat. There’s a little more to it than coloration.
Red meat has more myoglobin protein than white meat, and dolphin falls into that category, so dolphin is fatty red meat.
I have not personally tested it, but it seems sensible that anyone who enjoys liver or rare steaks is more likely to think dolphin tastes good.
Does Dolphin Taste Like Tuna
Dolphin does not taste like tuna, but it’s a common misconception for three reasons. First, dolphins enjoy eating tuna and will chase schools of them around for their meals.
As a result, these majestic creatures are often seen in the company of tuna fish.
Second, an old adage says you are what you eat. While this is certainly evident in the pink color of flamingos and eating some foods can change the flavors of meats or even cheese, it’s not a universal truth.
Dolphins don’t get their taste from their food source.
Third and finally, dolphins get caught in tuna nets often. Although many companies claim to be ‘dolphin-safe’ and insist that they do not kill or can dolphin along with their tuna, this is regrettably not true.
A food engineering student at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) discovered dolphin meat in canned tuna from Mexico last year, and this is hardly the first time it’s happened. So, while dolphin doesn’t taste like tuna, it has gotten mixed in with it often enough to make that mistake.
According to National Geographic, “The volume of dolphins and other marine life caught as bycatch from these fishing methods is “staggering,” says Zak Smith, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council who contributed to a 2014 report titled Net Loss: The Killing of Marine Mammals in Foreign Fisheries. The report cites data estimating that 650,000 marine mammals including dolphins, whales, and seals are caught or seriously injured in fisheries every year.”
What Does Bottlenose Dolphin Taste Like
Bottlenose dolphin tastes like whales and other aquatic red meats. Some compare the flavor to beef liver. However, quite a few also describe it as red meat, like beef, but denser with a slight hint of ‘fishiness’ which probably comes from swimming in seawater all day.
Trym Bruset of Norway describes whale meat like this, “Whale tastes a bit like the most tender beef you will ever have the chance to eat, but marinated in cod liver oil. The meat is so tender that when raw, you can practically eat with a spoon. I recall the cooked meat as just a bit rubbery, with the fat flavour even more distinct.”
What Does Dolphin Milk Taste Like
It’s odd to think of a dolphin breastfeeding, but as mammals, they produce milk for their young.
Naturally, the milk is incredibly high in fat content since any oceanic mammal needs a layer of thick blubber to survive in the frigid ocean waters.
The fat content can reach up to 108 to 180 gm per liter, making the milk much thicker than land mammals.
Dolphin milk has a slightly fishy smell, which comes from a lifetime in the ocean, and it would not be healthy for humans.
However, it has a creamy, oily consistency and little to no sweetness since it lacks the sugar content of some kinds of milk.
Can You Eat Dolphin Legally
There are still some places on earth where eating a dolphin is legal. I mentioned Japan, which has created an international outcry for illegal fishing practices.
On the other end of that scale, the people of Norway and the Inuit in Alaska and Canada fish for whales, including dolphins, sustainably.
For some, dolphin meat is a rarity, prized for its price point. Meanwhile, others see it only as a taboo yet desirable food.
However, people who subsistence hunt and practice sustainability can also legally eat dolphins, especially in areas where food sources are limited.
Helpful Tips To Know About What Dolphin Taste Like
Whether you’re a fan of exotic meats or merely curious about unique new taste possibilities, it’s normal to wonder about flavors. Additionally, you may have eaten dolphin meat at some point without knowing it.
Here are some helpful tips to know about what dolphin taste like.
- Dolphins are considered sentient and sapient. In many places, you cannot hunt or eat dolphins because they are capable of using tools, possess a written language, and display all the relevant indicators of self-awareness, like learning and passing on generational knowledge. While dolphins aren’t as intelligent as people, they are highly evolved social animals.
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species keeps track of creatures with a low population. There are forty-one species of dolphins, and out of those, five species and six subspecies are considered endangered.
- Mahi-Mahi is a species of dolphin-fish that is commonly caught and eaten in Hawaii. However, the Mahi-Mahi is not actually an aquatic mammal.
Dolphin meat is a dense, fatty, red meat similar to beef or beef liver, with a metallic aftertaste that people in some areas still fish and eat today.
Unfortunately, eating dolphins is potentially unsafe for humans due to its high mercury content. Pregnant women and young children should avoid eating any dolphin meat.
Alarmingly, dolphin sometimes ends up in cans of tuna fish because they get caught up in the fisher’s nets. Would you eat dolphin if someone put it on your plate?