The 10 Most Expensive Fish That Are Tasty to Eat


10-Most-Expensive-Fish-That-Are-Tasty-to-Eat

The health benefits of fish are numerous, as fish are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But those looking for a luxurious fish dinner experience might want to skip the cod and canned tuna and opt for a high-quality, tasty fish.

The most expensive fish to eat is bluefin tuna, especially specimens caught off the coast of Japan. A single bluefin tuna can sell for more than $2 million! If you’re looking for a domestic fish to chow down on, you’ll want to choose an American glass eel, as these cost upwards of $2,000 per pound.

Let’s take a gander at the most expensive edible fish so that you can choose a luxury-quality filet for your next fish dinner.

Why Are Some Tasty Fish Expensive?

A standard can of tuna often costs less than $2, but it’s bound to pale in comparison to the tastiest (and most expensive) fish in the world. So for the most refined palate-pleasing experience, you’ll need to pay far more.

Still, you might find yourself wondering, “What qualities make some tasty fish so expensive?” Typically, the three factors that contribute to a dinner-friendly fish’s cost include:

  • Rarity
  • High demand
  • Legal restrictions

Let’s take a quick moment to explore why these aspects influence cost.

Rarity

Rare fish are often the most expensive type of seafood, as diners are willing to pay a high price to enjoy something that few ever get to enjoy. But a rare and tasty fish is even costlier, as it tastes far better than the standard fish filet and is nearly impossible to obtain.

But scarcity alone doesn’t make an edible fish expensive. High demand is just as crucial to a fish’s price.

High Demand

What do the most expensive steak cuts and fish have in common? The tastier they are, the more people want to try a bite!

The most costly types of fish have unique flavors and melt-in-your-mouth textures that make them culinary delights. Unlike a fried cod filet, these tasty fish are often served lightly cooked or raw to ensure diners get an unspoiled experience.

Legal Restrictions

For better or worse, some of the world’s priciest fish are endangered or close to reaching endangerment. After all, the more scarce and delicious a fish is, the more demand there is!

Some regions have strict regulations about specific fish species, limiting the number of certain types of fish that anglers are allowed to catch each year. Unfortunately, these legal restrictions only make these delectable fish more valuable and desirable. An estimated 20% of wild-caught fish imported to the United States are illegal in some way.

Still, if you’re determined to try the priciest fish in the sea, be sure that you’re choosing specimens that are legally obtained. Otherwise, you could be looking at some hefty fines that outdo the initial cost of the fish.

Most Expensive Fish to Eat: Summary List

  1. Bluefin Tuna
  2. American Glass Eel
  3. Pufferfish
  4. Alaskan Wild King Salmon
  5. Swordfish
  6. Yellowfin Tuna
  7. Chinook Salmon
  8. Halibut
  9. Dover Sole
  10. Sockeye Salmon

10. Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye-Salmon

Salmon is one of the priciest fish species in the world, though some types are more expensive than others. Sockeye salmon tends to fall on the lower spectrum in terms of price, though it’s one of the tastiest types of fish you can add to your shopping list.

Notably, this type of salmon is hard to forget, especially if ordered whole. It has bright red scales across most of its body but a distinctly green head. Overall, this fish is considered the most flavorful salmon, though it’s often smoked to accentuate its natural taste.

At $20 per pound, sockeye salmon isn’t the priciest type of salmon, but it will cost you more than cod, tilapia, or mackerel.

Why It’s Expensive

Wild-caught sockeye salmon tend to command the highest prices, as they’re often much larger than farm-bred fish. Larger fish means heftier portions, so heavier specimens always cost more than smaller ones. Still, high demand and transportation costs have helped make this fish comparatively expensive.

9. Dover Sole

Dover-Sole

The Dover sole might look like the most appetizing fish. It has a muddy brown body that’s far flatter than a fresh-caught, round-bellied tuna. But it has a uniquely sweet flavor that’s often compared to spiced chicken or beef.

This flavor profile is unusual, as the Dover sole are saltwater fish. Still, they’re the least “fishy” type of fish you can enjoy, making them an ideal choice for those that tend to avoid seafood.

And with a price tag of about $29 per pound, these flatfish are far costlier than other species of edible fish. Naturally, wild-caught specimens are more expensive than farmed options.

Why It’s Expensive

The primary reason Dover sole fish are expensive is that they’re so tasty. This species is also easy to prepare, with most professional chefs and at-home cooks baking them whole. Because they have a mild flavor profile, they’re a favorite among diners that enjoy the benefits of eating fish but don’t enjoy the taste of seafood.

8. Halibut

Halibut

Halibut is also a type of flatfish, but they can grow to jaw-dropping sizes, making full-grown Dover sole fish look like babies. For example, Pacific halibut can weigh more than 400lbs, and their Atlantic cousins often weigh in at more than 300lbs.

This species is also notable for its low fat content and sweet taste. Many people compare the taste of halibut to tilapia, but milder and thicker. As a result, halibut filets are ideal for fish burgers or filling fish dinners.

However, wild-caught halibut isn’t as common as it once was, making it one of the pricier types of edible fish. Generally, you can expect to spend about $30 per pound to enjoy this saltwater fish.

Why It’s Expensive

Halibut is one of the tastiest and most filling types of fish, and as a result, it’s become one of the most popular types of fish around the world. However, this high demand has boosted the price of halibut filets and made wild specimens scarce. These factors make it pricier than similarly flavored species like tilapia.

7. Chinook Salmon

Chinook-Salmon

Unlike sockeye salmon, Chinook salmon tend to have greenish-white bodies with small brushstrokes of red along their abdomens. However, they can be almost as enormous as their bright ride relatives, making them easy to slice into hefty portions ideal for meals.

Native to the Pacific Ocean, these fish are prized for their savory, buttery flavor and soft texture. But this mouthwatering taste has also made Chinook salmon endangered in some areas and rare in others.

You’ll likely spend about $30 per pound on farmed Chinook salmon.

Why It’s Expensive

There are two reasons why Chinook salmon is one of the most expensive types of edible fish. Firstly, they’re well-known for being one of the most delicious types of salmon, with a rich flavor that’s rarely found in other species.

However, Chinook salmon are also threatened by overfishing, making them increasingly scarce. This rarity and superior flavor profile make it pricier than other anadromous (living in saltwater and freshwater environments) fish.

6. Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin-Tuna

Yellowfin tuna (ahi) are gorgeous edible fish with glittering silver bellies and colorful blue-green spines. Native to tropical waters, particularly those off the coastlines of Hawaii, these fish tend to grow into enormous creatures. It’s not uncommon to see anglers catching 300lb or 400lb yellowfin tuna.

Because these fish can grow to impressive sizes, they’re often used for a variety of meals, including sushi and fish patties. But their mild taste and significant portions also make them a popular choice. Ahi typically costs about $30 per pound, but prices may be higher for those living far from tropical regions or coastal areas.

Still, once you’ve tried yellowfin tuna for yourself, you might never be able to go back to albacore! Adding a small handful of some of the world’s most expensive mushrooms to your tuna dinner can make things even better.

Why It’s Expensive

Yellowfin tuna is pricier than other types of fish because it’s gigantic, tasty, and in high demand. Additionally, some diners may pay more for this fish due to high transport costs.

5. Swordfish

Swordfish

The swordfish gets its name from the long, blade-like protrusion sticking out from its head. It’s been a treasured catch among anglers for centuries, but it’s also prized for its meaty filets and mild flavor.

Like other costly fish from around the world, swordfish can grow to jaw-dropping sizes. While it might not be quite as hefty as some tuna or salmon, the average swordfish can weigh about 200lbs. Consequently, a single swordfish can feed quite a few people!

At about $60 per pound, this tasty fish is also one of the most expensive types of seafood.

Why It’s Expensive

It’s impossible to raise swordfish on standard fish farms, as these fish require plenty of space and saltwater to thrive. But marine fisheries are far more costly to maintain than terrestrial fish farms. Additionally, wild-caught swordfish are becoming a rare sight to the high demand for this delicately flavored fish.

4. Alaskan Wild King Salmon

Alaskan-Wild-King-Salmon

Technically, Alaskan Wild King salmon and Chinook salmon are the same species. However, Chinook salmon is the more generic term and often refers to fish bred on fish farms or wild-caught throughout the continental United States.

On the other hand, Alaskan Wild King salmon is almost always a wild-caught Chinook originating from Alaska’s pristine rivers and coastlines. Because these fish have more unspoiled areas to explore and thrive in, they can grow larger than their continental cousins.

Diners may prefer Alaskan Wild King salmon over farm-bred Chinook due to the cleaner Alaskan environment. But the higher demand for Alaskan-caught Chinook salmon results in a noticeable price difference of over $30. For example, Alaskan Wild King salmon often costs $70 or more per pound.

Why It’s Expensive

A cleaner and more expansive environment can result in better-tasting and larger fish. Of course, the same is true of any other commonly eaten animal, including chickens and cows. So you can think of Alaskan Wild King salmon as free-range or grass-fed beef.

It’s higher quality than standard Chinook salmon, which means that folks are often willing to pay a higher price for it. And because it’s caught in Alaska (almost 3,000 miles away from the continental United States), transportation costs are high.

3. Pufferfish

Pufferfish-Sashimi

The pufferfish (also called fugu) is one of the most expensive seafood items on the planet. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the most dangerous, as pufferfish contain a combination of potentially lethal toxins.

If prepared incorrectly, pufferfish toxin can kill you in just four hours! And while you might think that this dangerous quality makes pufferfish one of the least-desired fish in the world, it only increases demand.

The most skillful chefs in the world know how to prepare pufferfish in a way that makes it entirely safe to consume. As such, many daredevil diners are more than willing to give this fish a try.

Still, you’ll need to be willing to invest some money to give this fish a try. A single fugu sushi dish can cost $60, and this fish is known to cost $200 or more per pound.

Why It’s Expensive

Pufferfish has a taste that’s challenging to describe, with most diners describing it as absolutely unforgettable. But it can also prove deadly if poorly prepared.

This combination of unique flavor and high risk makes it fugu an attractive experience for many. Still, the primary reason it’s expensive is the skillful preparation needed to make it safe to eat.

2. American Glass Eel

Cooked-Glass-Eel

The American glass eel (sometimes called the bay eel) is native to northeast coastlines in North America. However, it’s not nearly as common as it used to be. As a result, anglers in Maine can now charge outrageous prices for a single pound of fresh-caught eel.

In 2009, the per-pound price for Maine glass eels was about $100. But in 2019, that price tag stood at a hefty $3,000 per pound!

Still, eel typically isn’t the first dish people imagine an exquisite and expensive fish dinner. So, why is the price of American glass eels so high?

Why It’s Expensive

The glass eel is often compared to chicken and catfish in terms of taste, and it’s not beloved due to its flavor profile. That said, this slim snake-like fish is one of the most expensive because it’s become scarce.

Poaching and illegal catching are significant problems, leading to substantial catching restrictions that have inflated the price of these fish. The American glass eel can also grow to an astounding length, occasionally reaching up to six feet long.

This quality makes them ideal specimens for sushi, and the most expensive sushi platters often include at least one cut of glass eel.

1. Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin-Tuna

Bluefin tuna is the most expensive edible fish on the planet. In 2019, a whopping 600-pound bluefin tuna sold for ¥333.6 million (that’s about $3 million). That’s nearly $5,000 per pound!

This type of tuna is native to the North Atlantic Ocean and the Meditteranean Sea. But the costliest specimens are often found in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Japan.

While many types of tuna fish grow to enormous sizes, bluefin tuna is one of the largest types of tasty fish. It’s also considered a delicacy due to its increasing rarity and distinct flavor. Still, these aren’t the only reasons bluefin tuna are so expensive.

Why It’s Expensive

Bluefin tuna is one of the most prized sushi ingredients. It’s also constantly in high demand due to its international reputation for being the best-tasting type of tuna.

But this massive and tasty fish isn’t plentiful, primarily due to overfishing and enormous demand. In addition, larger specimens have become increasingly rare over the last several decades, making the heaviest catches incredibly expensive.

Try These Tasty Fish

The most expensive fish to eat is Japanese bluefin tuna. That’s because these fish are massive, rare, and in high demand. That said, bluefin tuna isn’t the only tasty fish that costs a pretty penny.

If you’re feeling in the mood to treat yourself, be sure to consider any of the above options. Though your wallet might be lighter, your belly is bound to feel a little fuller!

Are you hungry for more of the world’s most expensive foods, experiences, and items? If so, be sure to check out our blog now!

Eric Lyons

Eric is a subject-matter expert on the world's most expensive luxuries and collectibles. He has explored thousands of luxuries and collectibles over the past few years and now brings them to readers around the world.

Recent Posts