In Hawaii, the moonfish (opah) has historically been an incidental catch of longline fishermen. Only recently has this species become commercially important. Rated as one of the best fish to eat.
The moonfish's large, round profile may be
the origin of its name. Moonfish landed in Hawaii range from 60 to over
200 pounds in round weight. A pelagic wandering species, it is often found
in the company of tunas and billfish
and are most often caught by longliners around seamounts
landings seem to peak in April-August.
A Moonfish has four types of flesh, each with a different color. Behind the head and along the backbone is a somewhat orange flesh. Toward the belly, the flesh pales to a pink color and becomes stringy. The fish's cheeks yield dark red flesh. These types of flesh all cook to a white color. Inside the fish's breastplate is another, smaller section of flesh, comprising a very small percentage of a 100-pound moonfish. A bright ruby red or liver color, this flesh cooks to a brown color and is stringy and difficult to fillet.
Preparations: The moonfish's large-grain flesh is rich and fatty, with a versatility of use that is attractive to restaurants. Moonfish (opah) is used for sashimi, for broiling, and occasionally for smoking.