The feast of Santa Marija brings along the much-awaited dolphin fish (lampuka) season, a favourite fish for the Maltese, as fishermen begin their fishing for this popular fish. Luck and nature this year seems to be on the side of fishermen with substantial catches of the fish as Daphne Cassar reports in this story.
The dolphin fish season officially starts on the 15th August with a third of the fish caught by Maltese fishermen are dolphin fish. This fish migrates at this time of the year and is found near the surface of deep sea while it shelters in the shadow of the kannizzati (fishing floats) – a technique developed by Maltese fishermen scores of years ago.
Although it is early for a season that continues till the 31st December, fishermen expressed favourable comments on catches and they expect a good season.
They said that compared with the same period last year, which was not so good, they are catching enough fish to meet the demand although the dolphin fish size is still small.
Fisherman Ġiljan Attard, however, stated that he prefers buying the fish from other fishermen and then sells them himself. “The dolphin fish is very popular, and as you can see we have already sold everything…”
Ġiljan appealed to Maltese consumers to buy fresh healthy fish to sustain the fishermen who depend on fishing for their livelihood. “I encourage people to by this Maltese fish….this is fresh fish that is healthy”.
The dolphin fish is also popular in restaurants, with chef Josef Farrugia, saying that the most preferred method sought by clients is the fried dolphin with breaded flour and tomato sauce, olives and capers. He says that the dolphin is versatile and is served in other ways, such as in pies or roasted.