Are Permit Good To Eat? Short Answer: Heck Yes!

Permit (Trachinotus falcatus) is quite a bizarre-looking fish, however, that does not necessarily mean they aren’t delicious!

At The end of the day, are permit good to eat? Their meat is most definitely edible and perfectly enjoyed baked, grilled, or prepared raw in a ceviche. 

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What Does Permit Taste Like?

Permit’s firm, tasty white meat is not overly fishy and is often compared to Pompano. Generally, they are described to be mild and pair well with lots of different flavors.

While it might not be the first fish you see in the supermarket, if you catch your own, rest assured you can definitely make use of them in the kitchen!

Their meat is delicate and perfect for grilling or baking with butter for a hearty comfort dish.

Since their meat tastes quite similar to Pompano, you can expect a mild, white fish flavor. However, Permit is known to be slightly firmer and tougher than Pompano. 

Are Permit Good To Eat?

Things To Know About Permit

Usually, older permit fish have to be released, so make sure you check in with the maximum size limits in your area.

Additionally, their skin is quite tough, so you’ll want to have a very sharp knife, and cut away from you to prevent any dockside injuries when filleting!

The Florida Museum offers a great resource on permit, which describes their biology, physiology, common names, and more!

What is the best Way to Fillet Permit?

To begin, you should take a sharp knife around their head meat and run it down their spine all the way to the backbone.

Their large head and ribcage are all inedible, so you will have to cut around these sections during filleting. 

Since Permit are usually large, you should divide the fillets into two sections like a tuna, and also cut from head to tail going along their lateral line.

This will make filleting easier to manage and leave you with four fillets for cooking. 

Their rib cage is large, so by cutting diagonally from the top of the head towards the lateral line, you can separate out your first fillet.

Continue this technique and you will end up with four fillets you can take back to the kitchen for preparation!

If you cut your fillets in half lengthwise, this will lend them best for cooking. Sometimes if the fillets are too thick, the meat can get quite tough when grilled or fried. 

Should You Take Off Permit Skin?

Yes, you should take off their skin since Permit have a large bloodline that you won’t want to eat. Cutting the skin off is best done starting from the tail towards the head.

Don’t throw the skin out, however, as you can use it for crab bait!

How To Prepare Permit For Cooking

After removing the head, ribcage and skin, remove their stomach to avoid the meat from tasting overly fishy. Now the fillets are ready to be put on ice and brought back to your kitchen!

Make sure you don’t leave them frozen for too long, as their flesh can get quite firm and tough if left for extended periods of time.

If you are concerned about a frozen or raw fish going bad, you should assess with smell, touch, and possibly even taste!

Fried Permit Recipe

Since Permit is a very firm protein, grilling and baking can often leave the meat too tough.

Regardless, Permit is great raw as a ceviche or fried like fishy chicken wings. This recipe is quick, easy, and a perfect starter for when you have friends around!


  • 3-4 fillets of Permit
  • ½ cup of corn starch
  • 3-4 scallions
  • ½ cup of mayo
  • ½ cup of sweet chilli sauce
  • ½ cup of flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper


  • Cut your fillets in half lengthwise so the fillets are not too thick. 
  • Make a batter out of the cornstarch, flour, 1 tsp of garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and pepper.
  • Dip the bite-sized fillets in the batter once it is thoroughly mixed. 
  • Add the dipped fillets into a pan with olive oil and begin frying them on medium heat.
  • Watch the Permit to make sure you don’t overcook them, the internal temperature should be around 145°F or 63°C when finished and can be checked with an internal thermometer.
  • In a separate bowl, add the mayo, 1 tsp of garlic powder, a pinch of salt, pepper, and the sweet chili sauce together. 
  • Chop up 3-4 scallions and add them to the sauce. 
  • Once the fish is cooked, you can now serve the bite-size fillets with the mayo and sweet chili sauce on the side for dipping!

How do You Catch a Permit Fish?

These fish are known to be fighters and can often be caught by using crab as live bait.

The skills of fishers are very much tested when fishing for Permit, however once caught, the hard work pays off due to their delicious tasting meat! 

Where is the Best Place to Find Permit?

Permit are usually found near the surface of shallow, tropical inshore waters down the entire eastern coast of North and South America, through the West Indies, the Gulf of Mexico, and Bermuda.

It is very common to find permit around Florida waterways, as that falls within their natural range.

Anglers will often use crab or other crustaceans as live bait to catch these tasty fighter fish.

They will drop their lines nearby bridges, dock pilings, rock reefs, and other structures where Permit seem to aggregate. 

How do I Identify a Permit?

Adult Permit Fish

Permit are dorsoventrally flattened with narrow bodies and a curved lateral line running along their side. They are silvery and have two long distinguishing dorsal and anal fins.

Their tails are forked dramatically, also helping in identification. They have a stubby flattened head and a rubbery, stout snout.

Their rubbery lips hide their crushing teeth, which they use for crunching crabs and other crustaceans.

They look quite similar to Pompano but can be differentiated from them usually by size. Permit often grows larger than 30 lbs or 13.6 kgs, whereas Pompano rarely will get any bigger than 7 lbs or 3.2 kgs. 

Permit also have a bumped forehead, whereas Pompano have a more pointed head. Their coloring is also different as Permit is silvery-white, and Pompano is more yellow-white. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between Permit and Pompano?

Pompano are a lot more common, but tend to be smaller than Permit. They both taste quite similar and are known to be extremely tasty, mild-flavored fish.

Permit are a bit more difficult to catch as they are quicker and more easily spooked than Pompano. 

Are Permit Sustainable?

Permit are not known to be a sustainable fish option, however, they are routinely monitored and protected by state governing bodies to ensure they have adequate time to reproduce.

Keep up to date with your state regulations for size limits and area closures. 

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Permit?

Yes, however since their skin is delicate, they often need complimentary flavors to bring out their moderate taste.

Remember to always gut and clean your fish thoroughly and to use only the freshest catch before consuming their fillets raw. 

Is Permit a Healthy Option?

Like most fish, Permit are a great source of protein, essential nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids, while being low in calories and saturated fat.

Basically, if you’re on a diet, Permit is a great choice to make sashimi or another healthy and light raw fish dish. 

Is Permit Expensive?

Permit is actually a cheaper alternative to Pompano, which usually are sold for around $24 / lb or $52.8 / kg. 


Permit are a great challenge for anglers to catch and a tasty reward when fried or served raw in a ceviche. If you enjoy Pompano, you will love Permit as a healthy and cheaper alternative option. 

Growing up in Florida, I’ve been surrounded by saltwater my entire life…and I love sharing my passion with others.

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