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The Very Expensive Raor Razorfish

The Raor (Xyrichtys novacula) is a wrasse or pearly razorfish of the family of Labridae that can now be found – at a price – in your local fishmarket. You have to keep your eyes open though because the fish is rather small, even with this large price tag. The Raon (also Galán in Castilian Spanish) are appreciated for their fine, white meat; they are considered one of the most valued species in the popular gastronomy of the islands. Scarcity and demand make this fish easily the Mediterranean’s most expensive pescado.

The Raor is a small fish between 15 and 20 cm long, although some exceptional examples of up to 30 cm can be found. The presence of this fish is very common in all of the Mediterranean Sea, and it can also be found, although not so widespread, in the Black Sea. It inhabits clear shallow areas with sandy bottoms, usually in the vicinity of seagrass beds and corals. The Raor dives head first into the sand when frightened.

The Raor is semi-protected. In Mallorca, it is subjected to a fishing period and a limited catch per person. The fishing rules establish a limit of 50 raors per day, and the catch can never exceed 5 kg per boat and per licence. If caught exceeding this limit, one could face a fine of up to 30,000 €. And fines are enforced rather severely. The Raor fishing season started August 15th, but will be delayed until September 1st, from 2009. The fishing ban period starts on April 1st.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 4th, 2008. The time was 12:26:03.

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