DEFINITION: Fish with heads and guts (viscera) removed, unlike “dressed” fish, which are typically sold head-on and gutted and with gills in or out. Though H&G fish provide several processing options, they are normally steaked crosswise to the backbone. Salmon, halibut, mahimahi, Chilean sea bass and tuna are among species typically offered this way


Shelf life. H&G allows maximum options and utilization of the net product without sources of contamination like the gills and guts. 

Savings. Shipping costs for H&G fish are less than for whole fish. Labor costs associated with heading and gutting are also eliminated, as is the cost of disposing of unused parts of the fish.


Expense. Because it has been processed, H&G is more expensive than whole fish. 

Labor. H&G fish, unless cooked in that form, normally require some further processing.


  • Like whole fish, H&G products should have a bright, shiny appearance and no “off” odors. Dull-colored skin suggests deterioration. 
  • Scales should be firmly attached. A few missing scales may or may not mean bad quality (some species’ scales detach more easily than others) but will detract from appearance. 
  • Belly should be free of all viscera or traces of blood, which will spoil the meat. 
  • Belly walls should exhibit elasticity. To test, stretch them a bit and see if they retain their shape.