Croakers & Drums - Corvina
Red Drum [family Sciaenidae]

Croakers and Drums get their name from sounds they make underwater. Corvina is a Spanish name for many fish in this family


Freshwater Drum   -   [Gasper goo, Gaspergou, Sheepshead, Lake/River drum, Grunt, Croaker, Aplodinotus grunniens]
Drum

In the Asian markets of Southern California this fish has been most often labeled "Sheephead" but the Philippine markets are now more commonly calling it "Gasper goo". This is a pretty big fish, the photo specimen at 21 inches and 3.85 pounds, but they can grow to over 3 feet and 50 pounds. Found in large non-freezing lakes and rivers in North and Central America, it is a minor commercial fish and not considered threatened.   Details and Cooking.

Yellow Croaker
This is confusing. There are two fish called Yellow Croaker in Southern California, often sold in the same market. Some authorities clearly assign them as Larimichthys polyactis and Pseudosciaena manchurica but Fishbase considers those two names to be for the same fish - the one we call "Corvina" here. Fishbase's photos are not clear, and there are a bunch of croakers looking quite similar - but based on tail shape and stripe patterns in Fishbase I settled on M. undulatus, confirmed by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Their photo of M. undulatis is very good, and a dead ringer for my boy.

Corvina / Yellow Croaker   -   [Yellowfish, Yellow Corvina; Larimichthys polyactis alt Pseudosciaena manchurica]
Fresh Fish

Native to the northwest Pacific, particularly the Yellow Sea and East China Sea, this fish is highly prized among Asians in Los Angeles, especially the Koreans. In Korean markets they are sold frozen, dried, salted cooked and sometimes fresh, usually in lengths less than 12 inches. They are often called "Corvina" (Spanish for croaker) or "Yellow Corvina" to avoid confusion with the other fish called "yellow croaker" (see Yellow Croaker above). They are easy to tell apart, this one has a round face, the other has a pointy face. This fish can grow to about 18 inches, but the photo specimen, purchased from a Los Angeles market serving mostly Vietnamese and Chinese, was 13-1/4 inches long and weighed 1 pound 2-1/2 ounces, IUCN status NE (Not Evaluated).   Details and Cooking.

Atlantic Croaker / Yellow Croaker   -   [Micropogonias undulatus   |   very similar: Spotfin Croaker; Roncador stearnsi; Yellowfin Croaker Umbrina roncador; Sharpnose hammer croaker Johnius borneensis]
Fresh Fish

See the entry for Yellow Croaker above for the confusion surrounding this fish and others. I had previously followed the FDA photo and called this fish Pseudoscianena manchurica but I'm pretty sure now that is wrong (see Corvina above).

This fish is native to the West Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. It ranges from Massachusetts to Argentina and is considered a very good eating fish. This fish can grow to 22 inches and 5 pounds 11 ounces, but the photo specimen was 14 inches long and weighing 1 pound 3/4 oz. This fish is currently caught wild and not farmed.   Details and Cooking.

Red Drum   -   [Redfish, Sciaenops ocellatus]
Whole Fish Strangely, this drum is not always red, and the distinctive ringed spot at the tail may not be there on some fish either, or may appear on only one side. This West Atlantic fish is found from Massachusetts to northern Mexico and can grow to 61 inches and 99 pounds, but the photo specimen was 16-1/2 inches and 2 pounds. The photo specimen, farm raised in Taiwan, shows an extra black spot on the side. Red drum was badly depleted to supply restaurants during the "Blackened Redfish" craze of a few years back but is now farmed and in good supply.   Details and Cooking.

Smalleye Croaker   -   [Nebris microps alt Plagioscion microps]
Fresh Fish

This fish is native to the West Atlantic, mostly off the north coast of South America from Columbia to Brazil, but a few can be found farther south off Brazil. It can grow to almost 16 inches and 1-1/4 pounds, but the photo specimen was 13 inches long and weighed 1 pound 1 oz. It is well though of as a food fish, and one of the highest priced fish in Trinidad. This fish is currently caught wild as a commercial catch and is not farmed. IUCN Red List status Not Evaluated.   Details and Cooking.

King Weakfish   -   [Macrodon ancylodon]
Fresh Fish

This fish is native to the West Atlantic from Venezuela to the northern half of Argentina. It can grow to nearly 18 inches, but the photo specimen was 14-1/2 inches long and weighed 1 pound 1-1/2 oz. Weakfish get their name from weakness of the mouth parts - hooks can tear loose and the fish then escapes. This fish is currently caught wild as a minor commercial fishery and is not farmed. IUCN Red List status LC (Least Concern).   Details and Cooking.

Dusky Cob   -   [Kob; Kabeljou (Afrikaans)l; Argyrosomus coronus]
Fresh Fish

This fish is native to the East Atlantic from South Africa north to Angola. It can grow to 78 inches and 170 pounds, but is commonly quite a bit smaller. This fish is currently caught wild and is not farmed. While it is IUCN Red List status Not Evaluated, stocks are at risk due to seine netters illegally keeping all juvenile fish caught.   Photo by Frederick Hermanus Van der Bank, University of Johannesburg Contributed to the Public Domain.

Geelbeck croaker   -   [Cape Salmon; Geelbeck (Afrikaans); Atractoscion aequidens]
Fresh Painting

This fish is native Southern Africa from Angola around and up to Mozambique, and also along the east coast of Australia. It can grow to 53 inches and 55 pounds, but is commonly aroud 35 inches. This fish is highly thought of in South Africa. It is currently caught wild and is not farmed. It is IUCN Red List status Not Evaluated.   Painting by Andrew Smith, copyright expired.

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