Chopopo fish is a cheaper and more nutrient dense food option

This is how CUCosta researchers study the nutritional properties of this native Pacific fish called chopopo, which is similar in nutrients to salmon.

Chopopo fish is a cheaper and more nutrient dense food option
Chopopo fish is a less expensive and more nutritious dietary choice. Photo by Gustavo Alfonzo

The species known as chopopo is a fish rich in proteins, low in fat and can be acquired at an accessible price, which makes it a food option for low-income families that cannot afford other types of species such as tilapia or dogfish, according to a study headed by Dr. Fernando Vega Villasante, academic of the Centro Universitario de la Costa (CUCosta), based in Puerto Vallarta.

The research has analyzed the native species of the Jalisco coast such as Dormitator latifrons, also known as puyeque and shrimp as food alternatives so that people from poorer colonies have a good protein intake without having to spend more, besides the fact that these species are widely available in the region.

The also Head of the Water Quality and Experimental Aquaculture Laboratory of CUCosta explained that due to its protein content and low fat, eating chopopo is equivalent in nutrients to ingesting a salmon, a species highly appreciated in nutrition but with a high monetary cost for any family.

"The value is very high, nutritionally speaking. We have done studies of its fatty acid and amino acid content, and it is practically the same as eating a salmon, except that it costs a thousand times less and you can catch it here, in the rivers. It is a lean, low-fat, high-protein fish that can be used for specific diets, for people with high cholesterol, but also provides nutrients for children," explained Vega Villasante.

Chopopo: A Native Species of the Coast and Its Nutritional Value

Unlike exotic species such as tilapia, which was introduced several decades ago in the country and whose price has risen, the chopopo is cheap to reproduce or accessible to fresh and salt water fishing, in addition to having a high nutritional value until now unknown.

Vega Villasante stated that since it is a native species of the coast, specifically of the Pacific, there is no risk that its reproduction in masses represents a danger for the habitats or the disappearance of other species.

"One could think of a cultivation through obtaining larvae from medium because they are produced in a very abundant way, there are millions of larvae produced per year," he said.

With the nutritional analysis, the researchers made an informative brochure with the properties and preparation recommendations of the chopopo that will be distributed in public places and different neighborhoods so that people know its benefits and start consuming them.

Text: Mariana González-Márquez, Source: UDG