Artwork: Les Hata © Division of Aquatic Resources, State of Hawaii
BLUE-GREEN SNAPPER (UKU)
Scientific Name: Aprion virescens
Hawaiian Name: Ukupalu
Japanese Name: Aochibiki
Uku is commonly known as the Hawaii blue-green snapper.
This fish shares many of the same qualities that have given opakapaka and onaga their reputations as outstanding table fish. Like other Hawaii snappers, uku has clear, translucent pink flesh that is delicately flavored, moist, and firm.
Uku caught in the summer season is often rich in healthy fish oils and excellent as sashimi.
Most of the uku catch is between 4 and 18 lb round weight. Uku less than 1-2 lb or over 30 lb are rarely caught. Line-caught, mostly with vertical hook-and-line gear, this bottomfish is caught in shallower waters no deeper than 360 feet.
Most uku is harvested in the main Hawaiian Islands hence, the catch reaches the market while it is still very fresh. When properly iced, uku has a very long shelf life, comparable to that of opakapaka.
All Hawaii uku are line-caught. The majority of uku are caught by deepwater handline gear with power reels. Uku can also caught by trolling gear.
Uku is caught year round in Hawaii, with the greatest availability between May and July. The summer uku season is entirely out of phase with the winter peak for other deepwater snappers (opakapaka, onaga), offering complementary seasonal opportunities to enjoy excellent Hawaii bottomfish.
Texture: Firm & Moist
Suggested Preparations: Raw (sashimi), Baked, Steamed, Sautéed, Soup
Uku is versatile and delicious. Some chefs and fishers say that the uku is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated of the Hawaii bottomfish.
HEALTH & NUTRITION
Hawaii Blue-green Snapper is an excellent source of healthy, extra lean protein. It is also low in saturated fat and low in sodium. It is rich in niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and selenium. Hawaii Blue-green Snapper is a good source of potassium. Hawaii Blue-green Snapper also provides about 300 mg of omega-3’s (DHA and EPA) per 4 ounce serving of fresh fish. Click here for nutritional labels and claims.
Click here to download a two-page description of this species.