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   There are hundreds of species of porgies that live in ocean waters around the world. In the Northeast the most common porgy is also known as "scup". This name is derived from the Narraganset Indian word mischcuppauog. Early settlers abbreviated the word to scuppaug and eventually shortened it further to scup.

Scup are small silvery fish with prominent scales, a rounded body that is relatively flat in thickness, which makes it an excellent panfish. Scup live in coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras . They travel in schools with the young coming close to land in only a few feet of water while the larger fish prefer deeper waters five to six miles from shore. Scup prefer smooth to rocky bottoms and feed on a variety of crustaceans, young squid, fish fry, and whatever invertebrates are available. Scup migrate in schools. They move northward and shoreward in the spring and offshore and southward in the fall. Times of peak local availability in New York coincide with these migrations. Locally caught porgies are most abundant during the spring from April to June and again in the fall from October to January. A significant portion of the annual catch of scup in New York and the Northeast is taken by sport fishermen.

Scup are generally sold in the marketplace as whole fish averaging 1 pound or less. They have delicious lean and flaky flesh, but also contain many bones, which makes them difficult to fillet. As a result, scup are generally cooked whole. They should be scaled and dressed before cooking, or large ones can be filleted. Your local retailer will be happy to scale and dress this local delicacy for you. Scup or porgies are delicious when pan-fried, grilled, steamed, baked, broiled or even deep fried. Simple preparations that complement scup's mild flavor are best. After dressed porgies are cooked, the meat can be easily lifted free of the backbone just before serving if desired.

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