Do Saltwater Fish Taste Better Than Freshwater Fish?

Do Saltwater Fish Taste Better Than Freshwater Fish?

There are a few critical differences in the flavors between saltwater fish in freshwater fish. Saltwater fish does have a certain briny ocean flavor and smell. Each type of fish has its certain types of cooking methods that bring out their unique flavors. 

Flavors in Saltwater Fish

Since they live in the ocean, saltwater fish naturally have a saltier flavor than freshwater fish. When the meat is too old to eat, they have a fishy smell to them, and the rot is more evident. Because of their stronger flavors, it is preferable to use thicker sauces and more seasoning when cooking ocean fish. 

Flavors in Freshwater Fish

Fish who live in oceans, rivers, and lakes don’t have a stronger flavor as fish that live in oceans. They are milder, and their flesh tends to be lighter in color. Some fish are so mild that it may not taste like they have any flavor at all. As a result of their lack of flavor, they do not need to be seasoned generously or baked or fried in thick sauces. Those who cook freshwater fish will be able to cook fillets in light sauces to enhance their flavor.

Major Differences Between Saltwater and Freshwater Fish

The ocean and its salt may not be a part of fish’s flavoring, but there is an obvious difference between a fish from the ocean and a fish whose home is in a lake or pond.


Because they have a limited area and their habitats and must pass through rivers and streams to migrate, most freshwater fish are smaller in structure and size than saltwater fish. The structure is different enough that if you place two fish skeletons side by side, you’ll clearly see which fish lives in freshwater and which fish is from the ocean. The key factor in this distinction is the thickness of their bones. Saltwater fish have much thicker bones in freshwater fish on average. Saltwater fish tend to be a bigger size than freshwater fish on average, but some freshwater fish can grow quite large.

Quantity of Fish Available

It is obvious that there are much more ocean water fish in the world than there are freshwater fish. The size of the ocean and the availability and quantity of prey and food supply allow ocean water fish to grow in great numbers. However, there are more fish in the ocean, but that does not mean that there are more different species of fish. Of the total number of fish species in the world, ocean water fish make up just 59%. This means that 41% of the fish in the world live in freshwater, even though there is only 3% of freshwater in the world.

So we can reasonably conclude that there are more saltwater fish because of their sheer numbers, but the different species of fish in the world are not that one-sided. But because of their vast numbers, ocean water fishing is much more capable of feeding the world population than freshwater fish.

So, Does Saltwater Fish Taste Better than Freshwater Fish?

This question is ultimately up to the person who is eating the fish and their preferences. As we stated above, saltwater fish has a stronger flavor, and the fish itself has thicker bones. If you are sensitive to flavor and prefer your foods to be lightly seasoned or mild, then you will not enjoy eating saltwater fish.

On the other hand, if you are someone who enjoys strong and robust flavors and enjoys a distinct fish taste in your fish-based dishes, then freshwater fish may not be the best choice for your palette. 

Another factor to understand is how much time you have to prepare your meals. If you are someone who has a lot of time and does not cook them often, then you may rely on frozen foods and frozen ingredients.

You must take into consideration how freshwater fish is more delicate than saltwater fish, and they may not last as long in a deep freezer. They could develop freezer burn or lose their texture and structure. Vacuum sealing both saltwater and freshwater fish are more likely to keep them stable for a longer period of time than traditional packaging.

Price Differences Between Freshwater and Saltwater Fish

The closer one is to a fishing area in the ocean, the cheaper saltwater fish will be. This is because the cost of shipping saltwater fish to nearby locations is much less. Some people are so close to fishing areas that they’re able to speak to the fishers themselves and purchase fish at a discount than a regular consumer.

However, this price difference flips the closer a person is to a freshwater source. The cost of shipping saltwater fish into mainland areas rises the more inland it is transported. But one important factor to consider is the amount of fish that is transported on average. Since ocean water fish are able to be caught in large quantities, they are able to be sold cheaper by the pound than a catch of freshwater fish. 

What are the Benefits of Eating Fish?

No matter the fish or seafood that you eat, there are many health benefits that are beneficial to humans and even other animals like cats, dogs, and rodents. Nutritionists across the globe recommend eating fish because of their healthy fats, vitamin D, and they’re also a low inflammation source of protein. This is especially true for the species of fish that have fatty or meats like salmon, tuna, and mackerel.

A person who eats fish regularly will see a decline in their risk of heart attacks and stroke, and is more likely to keep neurodegenerative diseases away. As they grow older, the omega-3 fatty acids will help maintain their vision as they age.


The question “Does saltwater fish taste better than freshwater fish” is up for debate. It depends on the person’s preferences and how much time they have to cook meals. People who like subtle flavors will not like saltwater fish, and those who enjoy strong flavors that stand out will not be satisfied eating freshwater fish. Of all the species of fish in the world, there are more saltwater fish than there are freshwater fish, and this variety of fish helps supply food to the world. 

Interested in reading more? Check out Can You Eat Fish Eyes?

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