Octopus, Sardines, Horse Mackerel and Mackerel
Octopus, Mackerel, Sardines and Horse Mackerel, all very popular on the national market.
The Octopus is a marine mollusc with eight tentacles and strong suction cups around the mouth. Like the other cephalopods, the Octopus has a soft body, with no internal or external skeleton. The Octopus is a predator and feeds on fish, crustaceans and other invertebrates. Its defence mechanisms include spraying ink, camouflage and the autonomy of its tentacles.
In quantity, the Octopus is the fourth most fished species in Portugal and is one of the species with most economic value.
Sardines are very popular with the Portuguese. They are fish from the Clupeidae family and are generally small (10 to 15 cm long). They have a dorsal fin with no spines, a forked tail fin, a mouth without teeth and a short jaw. Their ventral scales are in the shape of a shield. The Sardine is one of the most important species caught by the national fleet.
Horse Mackerel is the name given to several species of small fish in the Carangidae family. They have a fusiform body, a lateral line ending in scales in the shape of a shield and a red muscle layer on the side of the body. They are pelagic fish which normally form large populations and have high nutritional and commercial value.
Mackerel is one of the most abundant species on the Portuguese coast, along with Sardines and Horse Mackerel, but it has always been valued less and used less in our cuisine. However, it is very rich in healthy fats, it is easy to prepare and it is also used in the canning industry. This medium-sized fish, with small scales, a pointy head and under-developed fins, can be found at the surface and up to 120m deep.