Streaked Spinefoot ( Siganus javus )
Common Name: Java Rabbitfish, Spinefoot
Local Name: Samaral, Alama, Barangan (Tagalog); Danggit, Kitong (Cebuano)
Max Size: 53 cm
Biodiversity: Marine, Brackish, Reef Associated,
Depth: 0 – 15 m
Fishing Season: All Year Long
Minimum Size Limit: none
Recommended Bait: Banana, Rice, Seaweed
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)
This is one of the many species of Rabbitfish that inhabit Philippines waters. They are primarily on algae and are not targeted as a sport fish in the country. Instead they make a good food fish and subsequently are targeted by anglers using bait. Local angler have two main methods of catching these fish; one is with small hooks attached to a float that are baited with cooked Saba (cooking banana, similar to a plantain) or glutinous (sticky) rice. The other method used involves a rig designed to snag the fish with big hooks that are positioned around the bait which is usually a piece of banana.
Rabbitfish are also known as Spinefoots because of their venomous spines. Care is needed when handling these fish because a small prick on the finger from the spines on a Rabbitfish can leave a throbbing pain for quite a while.
These fish are a good food fish and have a firm though somewhat soggy texture. In Cebu they are often stuffed with onions, tomatoes and spices and grilled. Their thick skin helps keep the fish from falling apart while grilling. Rabbitfish have been successfully cultured in ponds and though not an ideal culture fish.
Small Rabbitfish make good bait for large reef associated predators such as Giant Trevally.