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The right way to kill a fish

The most popular way to kill fish isn’t great for the fish — or our taste buds.

Bridgett Henwood is the co-executive producer and editorial director of Vox video.

Most fish die the same way: slow suffocation in the open air. The method is easy for fishers, but it causes fish tons of stress — which shows up in their bodies through chemicals like cortisol, adrenaline, and lactic acid. Those chemicals make the fish taste bad, smelly “fishy,” and rot quickly. And because this method is so common, it’s probably the only type of fish you’ve ever tasted.

But there’s a better way: a four-step Japanese method called ikejime. Fish killed using this method experience very little stress — and the lack of extra chemicals in their bodies means they decompose slower. When fish are allowed to age properly, they develop complex, delicious flavors that fish killed with the standard suffocation method lack.

So if ikejime is better for the fish and for people eating fish, why isn’t it more common? Check out the video above to find out.

Vox’s Future Perfect podcast also has an in-depth episode about the same topic, if you’re looking for more information.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. If you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube.

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