Ribbonfish belongs to the marine fish family. Ribbonfish has a long body and compressed sides that give them a ribbon-like appearance. Ribbonfish swim in the open sea.Ribbonfish do not have anal fins, but their dorsal fins are the same size as their bodies, and the fins on their stomach have 1 large and 9 small fin rays.Ribbonfish are rarely seen alive. Ribbonfish are usually dead and floating on surfaces of the ocean. Ribbonfish is among economically valuable fish. Ribbonfish is widely found in the Persian Gulf waters and Sea of Oman. Ribbonfish is one of the most important fish stocks in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, which needs to be studied more in biological and environmental fields. The habitat and fishing ground of ribbonfish is in Bushehr province and the Mataf region in Dir city. The fishing season of ribbonfish starts in May and continues until September.


Ribbonfish Export

Eating fish without scales is not that common in Iranand because ribbonfish doesn’t have scales, it is widely exported to China, Japan, and other southeast Asian countries for industrial and edible purposes. The most important reasons for catching ribbonfish to export includes:

  • Considerable stocks of ribbonfish in Persian Gulf waters
  • High export value
  • Bringing money into the country in a significant way
  • Targeted trawling with a strong focus on catching ribbonfish
  • Exclusive fishing of ribbonfish
  • Creating jobs in the region

Ribbonfish stocks are one of the most important sources of marine protein in all tropical and subtropical waters In the world.In the past few years, major sources of ribbonfish have been found in depths of 20 to 100 meters in this region’s waters.Ribbonfish is one of the less-caught species. Fishermen catch ribbonfish to reduce overfishing of other aquatic species which in addition to creating jobs in the region, brings money into the country.


ribbonfish export


General Characteristics of Trachipteridae(Ribbonfish Family)

  • English name: Ribbonfish
  • Persian name: Yalasbimahian(Largehead Ribbonfish)
  • Biological and fishery characteristics of the family:
  • Ribbonfish is distributed in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
  • Ribbonfish has 10 generas and 45 species in the world's waters.
  • Ribbonfish has an extremely long and compressed body.
  • Ribbonfish has no scales.
  • Ribbonfish has almost large eyes.
  • Ribbonfish jaws often have canine teeth.
  • Ribbonfish body reaches 120 cm but the average length is under 100 cm.
  • The dorsal fin is extremely long. The soft-rayed fin is often longer than the hard-rayed fins and there is a gap between these two parts in some cases.
  • The tail fin( caudal fin ) is small if present.
  • The abdominal fin, if present, is reduced to a scale-like spike and has a small soft ray.
  • Ribbonfish has 58 to 192 vertebrae.
  • Ribbonfish is found in a depth of about 100 meters in coastal waters.
  • Ribbonfish often come to the water surface at night.
  • Ribbonfish feed on crustaceans and small fish.
  • Because ribbonfish has delicious meat, it is important for fishery purposes in many countries.
  • Fishermen catch ribbonfish using bag nets in estuaries, purse seine fishing in near-coastal waters, and trawl in waters offshore.
  • Distribution of ribbonfish in Iranian waters: Reportedly, there are 3 biological generas of ribbonfish in the Persian gulf sea and the Sea of Oman. The most important species of the ribbonfish stock in the Persian Gulf waters and the Sea of Oman is largehead ribbonfish.


Catching largehead ribbonfish ribbonfish Reproduction Ribbonfish Family

Largehead ribbonfish

  • Scientific name: Trichiuruslepturus
  • Persian and local name: Largehead ribbonfish and also Japanese cutlassfish
  • Other names: Ribbonfish
  • English Name:Ribbonfish, Japanese cutlassfish
  • Largehead ribbonfish reportedly lives in Iranian waters and other territories such as Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, UAE, Bahrain, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Macau, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Maldives, Myanmar.
  • Largehead ribbonfish also lives in Africa: Egypt, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya, Eritrea, Comoros, Djibouti, Seychelles, Mauritius, Mozambique, Madagascar.
  • Largehead ribbonfish lives in Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Guam, Micronesia, Papua Guinea, Tonga, etc.
  • Reported habitats of largehead ribbonfish: Largehead ribbonfish is native to the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, and other ecosystems such as Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Samarra Sea, San Miguel Bay, San Pedro Bay, Somali Coastal Streams, Yellow Sea, Arabian Sea, Bengal Bay, Indonesian Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Pacific Ocean, China Sea, Aden Bay and the Sea of Japan.


Characteristics of the habitat of largehead ribbonfish

Largehead ribbonfish lives in the sea and saltwater. Largehead ribbonfish is benthopelagic, meaning they live in both beds and the surface of the sea. Largehead ribbonfish migrates to different places.This fish lives at a depth of 589 meters and usually at 100 to 350 meters. Largehead ribbonfish lives in subtropical waters. Largehead ribbonfish is found in tropical and temperate waters of the world. It is commonly found above muddy beds in shallow coastal waters and often enters estuaries.



Appearance, behavioral, and physiological characteristics of largehead ribbonfish

  • Body shape: Largehead ribbonfish has a very narrow, long, and compressed on the sides body. Largehead ribbonfish has a big mouth and a skin part on the tip of each jaw. Largehead ribbonfish has a relatively long caudal fin. The anal fin is reduced to a small protrusion in the skin. Largehead ribbonfish doesn’t have any abdominal fins.
  • Color of a live largehead ribbonfish is blue with a metallic luster with a silver reflex, which turns silver-gray after they are caught or dead.
  • Size: The longest largehead ribbonfish ever witnessed is 234 cm. The usual size of a largehead ribbonfish is 100 cm. The maximum weight of a largehead ribbonfish is 5 kg.
  • Longevity: The oldest largehead ribbonfish has reportedly been 15 years old.
  • Food: Young largeheaded ribbonfishenters the estuaries and eats small planktonic, pelagiccrustaceans,and small fish. Adult largehead ribbonfish mostly eat fish and sometimes squid and crustaceans. Largehead ribbonfish migrate for food.
  • A study on largehead ribbonfish diet in Jask port in 1379 showed that 70% of their stomach was empty and they eat the most food in April and the least food in March. For this reason, a largehead ribbonfish is considered a low-appetite fish.
  • Other notes: Largehead ribbonfish migrates vertically every day to find food. Adult largehead ribbonfish usually feeds near the sea beds during the day and they move to the sea beds at night. Young largehead ribbonfish and smaller ones, form a group at 100 meters above the sea beds and appear close to the water surface at night in smaller groups.


Reproduction of largehead ribbonfish


Largehead ribbonfish is mature at 56.6 cm. The average length of adult largehead ribbonfish is between 30cm to 99 cm. Largehead ribbonfish lay eggs all year, but spring and autumn are peak seasons for egg-laying.


Catching largeheadribbonfish

Largehead ribbonfish is caught for industrial and sport purposes. Industrial fishing of largehead ribbonfish is mostly done by a trawl and the average amount caught by fishing fleet is larger than catching with hook.

Largehead ribbonfish export


Economical Values of largehead ribbonfish


Largehead ribbonfish is considered highly valuable. Largehead ribbonfish is sold fresh, salted, dried, or frozen. Fried and grilled largehead ribbonfish tastes best. Fresh largehead ribbonfish is used to make Sashimi. Largehead ribbonfish is one of the most important fish stocks in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

It is possible to produce gelatin from largehead ribbonfish wastes and skin and researchers in Iran have done some studies about this subject.