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Buying Kosher Fish

Buying Kosher Fish


The only criterion for fish to be kosher is that it have both fins and scales. Fish does not have to be slaughtered or salted as do meat and fowl. Kosher fish include cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, herring, mackerel, pickerel, pike, salmon, trout, and whitefish. Non-kosher fish include swordfish, shark, eel, octopus, and skate, as well as all shellfish, clams, crabs, lobster, oyster and shrimp. For a listing of kosher fish, see the Kosher Fish List.

The definition of fins and scales must be as designated by Jewish law. Not everything commonly called a "scale" meets the Torah's criteria. Therefore, it is best to buy fish from a merchant familiar with kosher fish types.

When buying fish, either buy it whole so that you can see the fins and scales, or, if the fish is sliced, filleted, or ground, buy only from a fish store that sells kosher fish exclusively. This will ensure that knives or other utensils are used only on kosher fish, and that no other mix-up can occur.

Packaged and canned fish, such as tuna and sardines, need reliable kosher certification. Smoked fish must also have certification to ensure that it was smoked only with other kosher fish, and that all other kosher criteria have been met.

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Discussion (10)
July 1, 2011
Branzino and Dorado
Are they kosher?
Coram, NY
August 16, 2010
Fish from Costco
Tilapia Fillets or whole red snapper that has been cleaned.
North Hills, CA
August 12, 2010
RE: Fish from Costco
What sort of fish are you asking about? Does it bear a kosher symbol? Are the scaled still attached?
Menachem Posner for
August 6, 2010
Fish from Costco
Is fish sold at Costco considered kosher?
North Hills, CA
October 13, 2009
RE: spanish fish
Is that the same as the fish known as the kingclip (pink-ling)? If yes, it seems that there is question about its status due to its strange under-the-skin scales.
Menachem Posner for
October 12, 2009
spanish fish
Is rosada fish kosher
chertsey, surrey
September 18, 2009
RE: Hoki
You are right, I have also seen conflicting information on this fish! The kosher agencies that I called did not have any definitive information either. So this is what you can do: Try to pull of a scale from the (raw) fish. If it comes off easily, the fish is kosher. If it is hard to remove, or rips the skin in the process, it may not be kosher.

Please share your findings online!
Menachem Posner for
September 15, 2009
Please can you advise whether Hoki is kosher. UK advice I have seen is that it is not kosher but I have seen USA and Australian websites selling "kosher" Hoki

Thank you
London, UK
August 19, 2008
not kosher
Although eel and swordfish have fins and scales, the scales do not fit the Torah's category for being 'kosher' scales as they cannot be removed without tearing the skin. For more details please see Is eel kosher?
Chani Benjaminson,
August 18, 2008
Eel and swordfish have both scales and fins. Why are they not considered kosher?
Jeff Iwai
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