What is barracuda?

The barracuda (Sphyraena sphyraena) is a fish belonging to the family Sphyraenidae. Also known as "sea pike," it is present in the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and the Atlantic Ocean (especially in its eastern areas). The barracuda likes sandy bottoms and lives preferably near the coast. There is another species of barracuda, the Sphyraena viridensis (or yellow-mouth barracuda), very similar to Sphyraena sphyraena, native of tropical seas but also now well adapted to the Mediterranean Sea.

The barracuda is a major predator, feeding on other fish , crustaceans and squid. He may rarely attack humans, only by mistake when it is attracted to any sparkling metallic objects mistaken for bluefish. For consumption, it is typically prepared boiled or stewed.


What are the nutritional properties?

100 g of barracuda provides about 81 calories and

  • 79g of water,
  • 18.9 g protein
  • 0 g carbohydrates
  • 6.12 g of lipids


When should you not eat barracuda?

There are some known interactions between the consumption of barracuda and the intake of drugs or other substances. If in doubt it is good to seek advice from your doctor.


Seasonality of barracuda

Barracuda are caught year-round. However, the haul increases during the summer months.


Possible benefits and drawbacks of barracuda

In Ital,  barracuda is sold both fresh and smoked or pickled. Its meat, tender and tasty, is a source of high quality protein. Its fat content is rather moderate.

Some types of barracuda – in particular the big barracuda that lives in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean – have been associated with ciguatera, food poisoning caused by ciguatoxin. When ingested, this toxin can trigger numbness, itching, difficulty swallowing, loss of energy, involuntary muscle contractions, and loss of ability to coordinate muscles, blurred vision, skin rashes seizures. It is also possible that ciguatera alters the perception of heat and cold: a disorder that can last for months.