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Real Good Fish | Fish Species | | Fish Species | Bringing you the freshest sustainably caught LOCAL seafood!
“If we eat from our own shores, we're much more inclined to protect them, the water quality, and our marine environment.”
- Paul Greenberg, American Catch
Albacore Tuna / Thunnus alalunga

With a highly evolved circulatory system, albacore are able to swim great distances and reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Albacore is an abundant species and a particularly healthy fishery in the Pacific Ocean.

Culinary Tips: Highly versatile: Can be enjoyed raw, grilled, or smoked.

Catch...

With a highly evolved circulatory system, albacore are able to swim great distances and reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Albacore is an abundant species and a particularly healthy fishery in the Pacific Ocean.

Culinary Tips: Highly versatile: Can be enjoyed raw, grilled, or smoked.

Catch Method: Longline or Trolling.

Sustainability: Albacore stocks are considered healthy in the Pacific Ocean and the fishery produces relatively low bycatch compared to other tuna species. U.S. tuna fisheries overall are more sustainable than those in other countries because of the tougher regulations and effective monitoring systems we enjoy.

- MBA Seafood Watch rating: Best Choice or Good Alternative

- NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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Bigeye Tuna / Thunnus obesus

Bigeye Tuna get their name because one of the only ways to identify them from their very close cousin the Yellowfin Tuna, is by their large eyes. Both Bigeye and Yellowfin are sometimes referred to as the Hawaiin name "Ahi" in the marketplace.

Culinary Tips: Bigeye is fantastic raw. It can also...

Bigeye Tuna get their name because one of the only ways to identify them from their very close cousin the Yellowfin Tuna, is by their large eyes. Both Bigeye and Yellowfin are sometimes referred to as the Hawaiin name "Ahi" in the marketplace.

Culinary Tips: Bigeye is fantastic raw. It can also be seared quickly on the grill or poached in olive oil for the foundation of an amazing tuna salad.

Catch Method: Longline

Sustainability: Bigeye Tuna are no longer overfished in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean (Seafood Watch). The primary concern for longline tuna fisheries is bycatch of sensitive marine species and migratory seabirds, but the US has the toughest regulations for longliners and the gear used by this fleet to catch Bigeye is designed to minimize bycatch as much as possible.

- MBA Seafood Watch: Good Alternative

- NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

 

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Black Cod / Anoplopoma fimbria

Black cod, also known as sablefish or butterfish due to its velvety texture, which results from a rich content of healthy oils and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Most Black cod is shipped to Japan, where their seafood loving culture snaps it up. It’s becoming more prevalent here, as Japanese chefs have...

Black cod, also known as sablefish or butterfish due to its velvety texture, which results from a rich content of healthy oils and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Most Black cod is shipped to Japan, where their seafood loving culture snaps it up. It’s becoming more prevalent here, as Japanese chefs have introduced it to Americans, most often as Miso-Glazed Black Cod or simmered in a Japanese style broth. 

Culinary Tips: Because of its cold water habitat Black cod is packed with healthy oils which protect it from over-cooking and keeps the fish moist. We recommend baking, roasting, or grilling it with big flavors.

It is also fantastic when smoked - try our Good Food Award-winning Carmel Canyon Smoked Black Cod!

Catch Method: Bottom trawl, bottom longlines, and pots.

Sustainability: The sablefish population off the California coast is extremely healthy at 96% of its target level and is harvested at sustainable rates (NOAA FishWatch). Black Cod in California is is part of the California Groundfish Collective which is particularly effective at collecting data and designing sustainable management strategies.

- MBA Seafood Watch rating: Best Choice and Good Alternative

- NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: 4 out of 4

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Cabezon / Scorpaenichthys marmoratus

The name cabezon literally means “big headed” or "stubborn" in Spanish. And big headed it is, so much that this fish has the capacity of swallowing small abalone and regurgitating the shells. This scaleless fish has a frightening appearance, with 11 spines on its dorsal fin, a spine before the...

The name cabezon literally means “big headed” or "stubborn" in Spanish. And big headed it is, so much that this fish has the capacity of swallowing small abalone and regurgitating the shells. This scaleless fish has a frightening appearance, with 11 spines on its dorsal fin, a spine before the eye, and an rear spine of soft rays. Cabezon can reach up to 25 pounds in weight, and while most males are reddish in color, females are usually greenish.

Culinary Tips: Cabezon has a mild flavor and color similar to rockfish, but a denser texture more like salmon when cooked. For this reason you can cook cabezon any way you like, it can even hold up on the grill compared to other groundfish.

Catch Method: Rod & reel, trap

Sustainability: Cabezon represents a small fishery in California, so we could benefit from more data on the species. But the fishing methods create minimal bycatch or habitat effects, and fisheries scientists believe the population is "likely healthy", so we considerate a sustainable species. 

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating:Good Alternative

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: 4

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California Halibut / Paralichthys californicus

This bottom-dwelling flatfish is native to the waters off central and southern California, can weigh up to 50 pounds, and is loved by sport fishermen since it can occasionally be caught from shore or by kayak in shallow waters. It is actually more closely related to a flounder rather than the...

This bottom-dwelling flatfish is native to the waters off central and southern California, can weigh up to 50 pounds, and is loved by sport fishermen since it can occasionally be caught from shore or by kayak in shallow waters. It is actually more closely related to a flounder rather than the Pacific halibut which resides in waters farther north along the west coast. California halibut is caught year-round, but it is most commonly landed in the summer and early fall.

Culinary Tips: There is no wrong way to prepare California halibut. It is delicate enough steam or shallow poach, but is also one of the only flatfish robust enough to handle the grill too. It can also be prepared raw for any recipe calling for fluke, flounder or the Japanese translation - "hirame".

Catch Method: Trolling Lines and Bottom Trawling

Sustainability: Landings of California halibut have stayed consistent in recent years which indicates that populations are not being depleted. The catch methods do not generate significant amounts of bycatch, and the management by the California Department of Fish and Game is effective and keeps fishermen accountable.

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice or Good Alternative

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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California Spiny Lobster / Panulirus interruptus

The California spiny lobster ranges from Monterey Bay to the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico. They are rarely found north of San Luis Obispo Bay, as the water here is usually too cold to allow for breeding. They have no claws, unlike their east coast cousins the American lobster, native to the North...

The California spiny lobster ranges from Monterey Bay to the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico. They are rarely found north of San Luis Obispo Bay, as the water here is usually too cold to allow for breeding. They have no claws, unlike their east coast cousins the American lobster, native to the North Atlantic.

Adult spiny lobsters live among rocks at depths of up to 65 m (213 ft), and are nocturnal, hiding in crevices during the day with only the tips of their long antennae showing as a means of avoiding predators. At night they emerge to feed on sea urchins, clams, mussels and worms. Spawning takes place from May to August, and the commercial fishery, which runs from the first Wednesday in October to the first Wednesday after March 15, is timed to avoid spawning season. 

Culinary Tips: Like most crustaceans, spiny lobsters are best cooked alive, so we offer them pre-cooked on special sales a few times during the year. Crack and eat as is, or use them for any preparation that calls for crab.

Catch Method: Traps aka "pots"

Sustainability: California spiny lobsters are caught with traps that have little bycatch and have low environmental impact. This species supports a popular recreational fishery too, so managers are conservative when seeting the total allowable catch.

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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Dungeness Crab / Metacarcinus magister

 

Dungeness crabs molt, or shed their shells, between May and August and mating occurs immediately after the female has molted and before the new exoskeleton hardens. A chivalrous crustacean, the male Dungeness crab embraces the female for several days before mating. The commerical season runs...

 

Dungeness crabs molt, or shed their shells, between May and August and mating occurs immediately after the female has molted and before the new exoskeleton hardens. A chivalrous crustacean, the male Dungeness crab embraces the female for several days before mating. The commerical season runs from late fall through the early summer, pausing in the warmest months to avoid this sensitive spawning period.

 The dungeness crab fisheries in California, Oregon and Washington accounts for more than $150 million annually, making it approximately one quarter of the value of the entire Pacific coast fishing industry. Much of that value is caught in the first few months of the season, and prices are highest around the new year.


Cooking Tips:
 Crab cakes, cioppino, and crab ravioli are all perfect with Dungeness crab. We deliver crab pre-cooked so it is ready to eat right when you get it.

Catch Method: Traps aka "pots"

Sustainability: Dungeness crab populations on the West Coast are stable and the fishery is extremely well-managed. Fishing seasons are scheduled to avoid crabs’ primary molting season, and size regulations ensure that female and undersized crabs are not retained and allowed to mate. Also, crab traps have very low amounts of bycatch.

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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Jack Mackerel / Trachurus symmetricus

Pacific Jack Mackerel, also called horse mackerel, are streamlined fish, blue or green on back and silvery below. The habitat ranges all along the Pacific Coast of North America, from Alaska to Baja California. Typically they are 12-18 inches in length, but some can get as large as 3 feet.

This...

Pacific Jack Mackerel, also called horse mackerel, are streamlined fish, blue or green on back and silvery below. The habitat ranges all along the Pacific Coast of North America, from Alaska to Baja California. Typically they are 12-18 inches in length, but some can get as large as 3 feet.

This species offers nearly as much omega-3 fats per serving as salmon, making it rich and perfect for any recipe calling for tuna or salmon. Jack mackerel is popular in Japan and any sushi restaurant that can get a hold of it, but it has not yet generated a large following in California restaurants.

Currently, landings are low along much of the Pacific Coast, although they are caught as bycatch in the salmon and albacore fisheries. 

Culinary Tips: Jack mackerel is fantastic in raw preparations when it's fresh. It is also fantastic on the grill, and can be subbed for any recipe that calls for salmon, tuna or yellowtail.

Catch Method: Troll gear bycatch

Sustainability: This species is mostly seen as bycatch for other fisheries, in our cast it is mostly caught from salmon or albacore vessels, both of which are operating in a well monitored, sustainable fishery. Even though we would like to know more about Jack mackerel populations in California, we always aim to support our fishermen by buying their bycatch, and the best available science on this species does not indicate overfishing is occuring.

>MBA Seafood Watch: Not Rated

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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King Salmon / Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Also known as Chinook salmon, the King Salmon is the largest salmon species in the Pacific. They are popular in the kitchen of course, but they are also a highly sought after sport fish on the west coast and in Alaska each summer.

Like all salmon species king salmon are anadromous, meaning they...

Also known as Chinook salmon, the King Salmon is the largest salmon species in the Pacific. They are popular in the kitchen of course, but they are also a highly sought after sport fish on the west coast and in Alaska each summer.

Like all salmon species king salmon are anadromous, meaning they are born in fresh water, migrate to salt water to live most of their lives, then they return to their natal stream to spawn and die. Each spring this annual king salmon return begins in California, running through to mid-summer. The commerical king salmon season begins and ends with this migration.

In the early 2000s king salmon populations had declined significantly, but by 2010 they had rebounded, in some cases growing at rates of 150%. Culturally, the Chinook has special meaning to Native American tribes, with many tribes celebrating “First Salmon” ceremonies. 

Culinary Tips: King salmon is the richest most decadent species of Pacific salmon and can be cooked any way you can imagine. It is fanstatic prepared on a cedar plank on the grill, roasted with seasonal vegetables in the oven, or even smoked or cured.

Catch Method: Troll

Sustainability: Some salmon populations along the California coast are endangered or threatened, so the chinook salmon that is allowed to be caught is highly monitored and done so as sustainably as possible. Troll gear is extremely selective and produces very little bycatch and no harm to the marine habitat.

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: 2 out of 4 for some rivers, N/A for other rivers

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Lingcod / Ophiodon elongatus

Prior to cooking, the lingcod’s flesh can be either blue or green. Not all are, though. And after cooking, they'll turn white.

Nicknamed buckethead, the lingcod is native to the North American Pacific coast and is neither ling nor cod, but its name originated because it somewhat resembles those...

Prior to cooking, the lingcod’s flesh can be either blue or green. Not all are, though. And after cooking, they'll turn white.

Nicknamed buckethead, the lingcod is native to the North American Pacific coast and is neither ling nor cod, but its name originated because it somewhat resembles those fish. Newborns live near the surface, juveniles prefer sandy bottoms and kelp beds, and young adults settle in rocky habitats or kelp beds, where food is more abundant.

Lingcod fillets are can be surprising on first glance since sometimes they can be bright blue or green. Aside from their unusual coloration, lingcod support a popular sport fishery on the west coast.

Culinary Tips: Lingcod is a lean, white fleshed fish that has a mild flavor and cooks to a medium-firm texture with a nice flake. It can be substituted for any recipe calling for rockfish or halibut.

Catch Method: Hook and line and bottom trawl

Sustainability: Biomass off the US West Coast is high. They have very high reproduction rates. Lingcod are caught with gear that have little impact on habitats and very low accidental catch. Management is strong, with seasonal closures during spawning season. 

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice and Good Alternative 

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: 4 out of 4

 

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Market Squid / Doryteuthis opalescens

Market squid are native to the Eastern Pacific Ocean and due to their short life span, reproduce at a young age, making them highly resilient to the pressures of fishing. Humans are not the only ones to find market squid delicious – they are a primary food source for sharks, carnivorous fish,...

Market squid are native to the Eastern Pacific Ocean and due to their short life span, reproduce at a young age, making them highly resilient to the pressures of fishing. Humans are not the only ones to find market squid delicious – they are a primary food source for sharks, carnivorous fish, seabirds, and marine mammals such as seals and sea lions.

In Monterey Bay, the market squid fishery has existed for nearly 150 years, originally begun by Chinese immigrants and later taken up by Italian immigrants. Within Monterey Bay, the fishery typically operates from April to November.

Culinary Tips: Fresh squid cooks quickly making it perfect for a stir fry or of course, lightly breaded and fried. The bodies or "tubes" are also great when stuffed and gently baked in a tomato sauce.

 

Catch Method: Purse Seine

Sustainability: On the West Coast they are plentiful and highly regulated. Market squid are a fast-growing species with a short natural lifespan, which makes them less susceptible to overfishing. By encircling schools of squid with nets, bycatch from squid purse seining is generally low.

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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Miyagi Oysters / Crassostrea gigas

Miyagi oysters (aka Japanese oysters or Pacific oysters) are the most widely farmed oysters in the world, since they are easy to grow and adapt to new environments easily. These marvelous mollusks can each clean up to 50 gallons of water a day! For this reason, oysters of any kind are one of the...

Miyagi oysters (aka Japanese oysters or Pacific oysters) are the most widely farmed oysters in the world, since they are easy to grow and adapt to new environments easily. These marvelous mollusks can each clean up to 50 gallons of water a day! For this reason, oysters of any kind are one of the most sustainable seafood choices on the market.

Our local oysters usually come from Tomales Bay and Morro Bay. They are available year-round, but the flavors are at their peak in the colder months. 

Culinary Tips: Raw Miyagi oysters have a briny flavor with a sweet, cucumber finish and are perfect with your favorite raw bar condiments. They're also fantastic grilled or broiled in the shell with a compound butter.

Catch Method: N/A

Sustainability: Oysters are as sustainable as sustainable gets. They filter and clean our waterways, they provide important habitat for juvenile fish, and they buffer our coastline from storm surge and waves. 

>MBA Seafood Watch: Best Choice

>NOAA Fishwatch Rating: Not Rated

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Northern Anchovy / Engraulis mordax

In Monterey Bay anchovies are a key building block in the California marine food web, feeding everything from whales to seabirds. Today most commercially caught anchovies are reduced to pellets, processed into fish oil, or frozen into blocks and shipped overseas to be made into industrial animal...

In Monterey Bay anchovies are a key building block in the California marine food web, feeding everything from whales to seabirds. Today most commercially caught anchovies are reduced to pellets, processed into fish oil, or frozen into blocks and shipped overseas to be made into industrial animal feed. 

Anchovies are extremely high in omega 3s, niacin, vitamin A, potassium, calcium and selenium, making them one of the healthiest foods in the ocean. We offer them fresh on occasiaon when they land still alive in Moss Landing, and we offer Monterey Bay Anchovy Boquerones in our Member Store as often as possible.

Culinary Tips: Fresh anchovies are much milder in flavor than canned or cured and are fantastic roasted or fried whole. We also sell cured anchovy products like boquerones which are perfect for sauces and salad dressings.

Catch Method: Purse seine

Sustainability: Formal stock assessments are not conducted for either the northern or central subpopulations of anchovies, but data is collected to help monitor the populations, and populations are currently thought to be abundant. (NOAA). The gear used to catch anchovies in California is used at the surface and has little impact on marine habitats.

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Not Rated

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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Opah / Lampris guttatus

Also called moonfish, this colorful and large species is one of only two living species in the Genus Lampris. They live in deep tropical and temperate waters around the world and can easily weigh over 200lbs. Opah are often found swimming with schools of Bigeye Tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean,...

Also called moonfish, this colorful and large species is one of only two living species in the Genus Lampris. They live in deep tropical and temperate waters around the world and can easily weigh over 200lbs. Opah are often found swimming with schools of Bigeye Tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which is why we usually see them as bycatch from Tuna boats. 

Opah has recently become popular in seafood restaurants but is still relatively unknown outside of Hawaii and southern California. They have three distinct types of flesh that all appear different and cook differently too.

Culinary Tips: Opah is one of the most versatile species on earth, not just in the sea! The salmon-colored top loin is firm and lean and is best grilled or seared. The belly which is a lighter orange/pink color is fantastic for raw preparations, or even for smoking or curing. The deep, red, beef-like abductor muscle (usually called the "cheek") is like a lean, tender flank steak and should be prepared as such.

Catch Method: Pelagic long lines

Sustainability: Since Opah is usually a bycatch species from well-managed Tuna fisheries, we are eager to sell it and provide those fishermen more value for their trip. The management of this fleet is rated as "highly effective" and the longlines used to catch Opah are designed to minimize bycatch as much as possible (Seafood Watch). 

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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Pacific Bonito / Sarda chiliensis

Pacific Bonito are a small tuna, from the same family as albacore (Scombridae). They have beautiful dark blue coloring on top that fades to silver on their underbelly, and are easily identified by dark slanted bands along their sides. Fast growing, Pacific bonito often weigh 3 pounds within a...

Pacific Bonito are a small tuna, from the same family as albacore (Scombridae). They have beautiful dark blue coloring on top that fades to silver on their underbelly, and are easily identified by dark slanted bands along their sides. Fast growing, Pacific bonito often weigh 3 pounds within a year of hatching. Their rapid growth and extremely efficient body shape give them speed and strength, which makes them popular among fishermen.

Bonito prefer warmer waters, and are primarily found between Baja California and Point Conception (Santa Barbara). However because they follow warm water currents as they hunt for small fish, they are found discontinuously from Chile all the way to Alaska. 

Pacific Bonito are usually caught south of Point Conception, and the season typically winds down in early fall, but during warmer months or El Niño weather events, they can be readily caught in the waters of Monterey Bay even later in the year. Fish usually weigh between 3 and 12 pounds, with the largest recorded weighing in at 25 pounds. 

Size: Up to 3.5 feet and 25 lbs

Distribution: Found from the surface to depths of 600 feet, mainly in the upper portion of the water column.

How fished: Longline and trolling

Why sustainable: Pacific Bonito are a highly migratory species, and reproduce rapidly and frequently throughout their range. They are managed at the state, national, and international levels. Bycatch in the fishery is relatively low.

MBA Seafood Watch rating: Not Assessed

Nutrition Facts

100 grams or 3.5 oz
Calories 153
Protein (g) 25
Fat (g) 6
Saturated fat (g) 1.6
Sodium (mg) 40
Cholesterol (mg) 45
Potassium (mg) 330

 

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Pacific Herring / Clupea pallasii

Believe it or not, Pacific herring is a keystone species. That means that herring have a disproportionately large effect over their environment relative to their abundance because they are an important prey species and an important predator.

Pacific herring prefer breeding in bays and estuaries,...

Believe it or not, Pacific herring is a keystone species. That means that herring have a disproportionately large effect over their environment relative to their abundance because they are an important prey species and an important predator.

Pacific herring prefer breeding in bays and estuaries, making the California coast a favorite location for them to spawn. A single female can lay up to 20,000 eggs in one spawn. Interestingly, most herring are not caught for their flesh, but rather over 90% are caught for their roe (the eggs inside of them) that is exported to Japan. Japanese traditionally eat herring roe, or kazunoko, at the start of a new year because it symbolizes prosperity. To fill their demand for it, the Japanese turned to the United States and set off a "silver rush" in San Francisco and Tomales Bays that led to fishing limits on Pacific herring in 1973. Since then, local herring have been harvested mostly for their high-priced roe, with the rest made into fertilizer, and fish meal that is fed to pigs, chickens, pets and farmed fish. It's also used for bait in other fisheries. Visit this article in the San Francisco Chronicle about how Nor Cal chefs are using local herring.  

Lifespan: 8 to 16 years

Size: 18 inches and 1.5 lbs

Distribution: Found from the surface to depths of 400 m. They also migrate inshore to spawn in estuaries.

Why sustainable: Well managed fishery with reliable stock assessments is recovering. Fishing is only allowed in Tomales and San Francisco Bays. Bycatch is low; roe is in demand while rest of the fish is underutilized

How fished: Gillnets or purse seines

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not rated

Nutrition: Good source of vitamin B6, phosphorus, protein, vitamin B12, and selenium

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Pacific Sardines / Sardinops sagax

Pacific sardines are found in both offshore and nearshore areas along the coast, with locations of schools largely dictated by water temperatures. Sardines migrate regularly, with spawning concentrated in southern California and feeding concentrated in the central and northern waters of the...

Pacific sardines are found in both offshore and nearshore areas along the coast, with locations of schools largely dictated by water temperatures. Sardines migrate regularly, with spawning concentrated in southern California and feeding concentrated in the central and northern waters of the state. In Monterey Bay, sardines may spawn year round, with peaks generally occurring between April and August. Migrations, or “sardine runs,” attract many predators, such as larger fish, marine mammals, and seabirds, often creating feeding frenzies.

Culinary Tips: Fresh sardines are much different than canned, and regardless how you choose to prepare them we recommend doing so as soon as possible since they are more perishable than other seafood species. A great way to cook sardines is on the grill simply with olive oil, salt and lemon. They also can be filleted and cured with those same ingredients and served raw.

Catch Method: Purse seine

Sustainability: The California pacific sardine biomass fell below an important threshold in 2015 and has since been closed. This is mostly due to the natural fluctuation that forage fish species like sardines experience, and likely not due to overfishing. On the rare occasions when we do source pacific sardines, it is only when we get them as part of allotted bycatch from sustainable market squid and northern anchovy fisheries.

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Not Rated

>NOAA FishWatch Rating: 3 out of 4

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Petrale Sole / Eopsetta jordani

Petrale sole, like halibut and flounder, is a flatfish with mild, white flesh whose habitat ranges from Alaska to Baja California. They stay small, only reaching about two feet in length at maximum, and usually live at depths between 330 and 500 feet deep. 

In California they are often landed...

Petrale sole, like halibut and flounder, is a flatfish with mild, white flesh whose habitat ranges from Alaska to Baja California. They stay small, only reaching about two feet in length at maximum, and usually live at depths between 330 and 500 feet deep. 

In California they are often landed with Rockfish and other bottom-dwelling species. Petrale land year-round, but they are at their best in the winter months.

Culinary Tips: Petrale sole is reltively firm compared to other flatfish, but it's still a delicate, mild species. It is best cooked gently in the oven, poached, steamed, or over a medium flame in a non-stick pan for sole meuniere.

Catch Method: Bottom Trawl

Sustainability: Petrale sole is part of the U.S. West Coast Groundfish Fishery, which means management is very effective. Even though bottom trawling is capable of damaging marine habitat, closed fishing areas and gear modifications are in place to minize those effects. Much of this fishery is also Marine Stewardship Council certified.

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: 4 out of 4

>MBA Seafood Watch: Best Choice or Good Alternative

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Red Abalone / Haliotis rufescens

While abalone have shells they are not technically shellfish. They are actually mollusks, more closely related to scallops, sea slugs, octopuses and squid. In some countries they are called sea snails.

Abalone start their lives as small larvae, when the females and the males release the eggs and...

While abalone have shells they are not technically shellfish. They are actually mollusks, more closely related to scallops, sea slugs, octopuses and squid. In some countries they are called sea snails.

Abalone start their lives as small larvae, when the females and the males release the eggs and sperm into the current. A 1.5 inch abalone may spawn 10,000 eggs or more at a time, while an 8 inch abalone may spawn 11 million or more. Yet the likelihood that an individual larva will make it to adulthood is very low, with a mortality rate that probably exceeds 99%.

Besides their delicious flavor, abalone are known for the beautiful colors of the inside of their shells. Large algae, such as the giant kelp found in Monterey Bay, are the preferred food of abalone, and this is why they grow so well in our local waters. Red abalone are the largest members of their genus; some have been known to reach up to 12.3 inches in length. They have many wild predators, with one in particular adept at removing all the abalone within reach: the southern sea otter. Unfortunately, the last 20 years have witnessed a significant decline in wild abalone populations due to high mortality rates, overharvesting by humans, illegal harvesting, competition for resources with other species, and loss of habitat. 

Lifespan: 34-54 years Size: 80-90 mm and ¾ lbs

Distribution: Found in the low intertidal to around 80 ft deep

How fished: Farmed

Why sustainable: In the Pacific, abalone farming is highly regulated while wild populations recover. Abalone are fed local algae (kelp), which regenerates quickly.

MBA Seafood Watch rating: Best Choice

NOAA FishWatch rating: Not rated.

Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 121, Total Fat 4.01g, Cholesterol 39mg, Selenium 48.1mcg, Sodium 90mg, Protein 19.8g.

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Rock Crab / Romaleon antennarium

Also known as the Pacific or California rock crab, this nocturnal crab has eleven teeth to either side of the eyestalks. It is found at depths of no more than 300 feet, but usually around 150 feet deep. Their habitat of choice is low rocky intertidal areas, where they bury under rocks or in kelp...

Also known as the Pacific or California rock crab, this nocturnal crab has eleven teeth to either side of the eyestalks. It is found at depths of no more than 300 feet, but usually around 150 feet deep. Their habitat of choice is low rocky intertidal areas, where they bury under rocks or in kelp beds. They are great scavengers, relying primarily on small bits and pieces from small fish and hermit crabs, which they capture by gradually chipping away at the edges of their shells until the hermit crab has nowhere else to go.

Spawning in California takes place between November and January, and they take about two full years to reach maturity. This crab is usually captured for its delicious claws.

Lifespan: 5-7 yrs

Size: 7 inches across back and 2-4 lbs

Distribution: Found in the bottom of the water column (benthic)

How fished: Traps

Why sustainable: Rock crab are a less targeted species off the Central Coast due to the prevalence of larger Dungeness crab, so fishing pressure is generally lower. Traps use to catch rock crab do not disturb habitat and have very low bycatch. Management is effective in that it allows for crabs to mature and mate several times before they can be legally caught.

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Not rated

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not rated

Nutrition: Good source of protein!

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Rockfish / Genus Sebastes and Sebastolobus

There are more than seventy rockfish species native to the Pacific coast of the U.S. and we offer, but are not limited to, the following species: Chilipepper Rockfish, Black Rockfish, Boccaccio Rockfish, Splitnose Rockfish, Vermillion Rockfish, Gopher Rockfish. "Rock Cod" or "Pacific Snapper"...

There are more than seventy rockfish species native to the Pacific coast of the U.S. and we offer, but are not limited to, the following species: Chilipepper Rockfish, Black Rockfish, Boccaccio Rockfish, Splitnose Rockfish, Vermillion Rockfish, Gopher Rockfish. "Rock Cod" or "Pacific Snapper" are other local nicknames for rockfish species. The southern half of the California coast has the most rockfish diversity anywhere, with at least 56 different species known. 

Rockfish earned their name because they are bottom-dwelling species that prefer rocky areas. Fish species in this genus have some of the longest lifespans of any fish on earth, and some have been recorded to live up to 205 years. These long life-spans made it difficult for some species to absorb industrial fishing pressures that peaked in the 1980's and '90's, and many rockfish species became overfished. Today though, Pacific groundfish populations like rockfish have largely recovered due to strict management and responsible fishermen.

Culinary Tips: All rockfish species have a mild flavor, cook to a medium firmness, and flake nicely. Larger fillets can be dredged in flour and pan fried, while smaller rockfish are delicous cooked whole. Rockfish is also delicous served raw in a ceviche.

Catch Method: Bottom and midwater trawls, rod and reel, and traps

Sustainability: Rockfish fisheries are highly regulated under both state and federal laws. In federal waters, the rockfish trawl fishery is part of the Catch Shares program, with 100% observer coverage. Hook and line caught rockfish has very low bycatch rates. A growing number of Pacific rockfish fisheries on the west coast are becoming Marine Stewardship Council certified for sustainability

>MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative and Best Choice

>NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: 2.5 - 4 out of 4

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Sanddabs / Citharichthys sordidus

Native to the northern Pacific, this flatfish has the ability to change its color and pattern to match its surroundings, making it virtually invisible to predators.

Pacific Sand Dabs are a local delicacy and a favorite of many people. They feed on shellfish, squid and octopus, making them one of...

Native to the northern Pacific, this flatfish has the ability to change its color and pattern to match its surroundings, making it virtually invisible to predators.

Pacific Sand Dabs are a local delicacy and a favorite of many people. They feed on shellfish, squid and octopus, making them one of the sweetest and tastiest fish available.

Culinary Tips: We recommend a quick cooking method and light flavor pairings. They are best when fried on the bone (aka "Pan Ready") or as fillets. 

Catch Method: Bottom Trawl, Trap or Hook and Line

Sustainability: Consistent landings indicate that populations are stable. Hook and line and trap fishing has minimal bycatch with the ability to throw back juvenile fish. Bottom trawling for sanddabs is highly regulated under the catch shares program, which has reduced fishing pressure.

- MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

- NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: 2.5 out of 4 

 

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Spot Prawn/Pandalus platyceros

 

Spot prawns are actually a large shrimp. The fishery originated in the early 1930's in Monterey when they were caught incidentally in octopus traps. It was a minor fishery until the early 1970's, when trawl fishing for them began. In 1974, trawl fishermen fishing out of Santa Barbara caught...

 

Spot prawns are actually a large shrimp. The fishery originated in the early 1930's in Monterey when they were caught incidentally in octopus traps. It was a minor fishery until the early 1970's, when trawl fishing for them began. In 1974, trawl fishermen fishing out of Santa Barbara caught over 182,000 pounds of spot prawns, and trawl landings steadily grew as more fishermen entered the fishery and new areas were explored, reaching a peak of more than 375,000 pounds in 1981. After that, landings fell drastically, causing intermittent closures of the fishery to allow for population recovery. In 2003, the California Fish and Game Commission banned the practice of trawling for prawns, citing concerns about damage to the sea floor and the high bycatch. Today, the majority of spot prawns are caught in Southern California. Trapping spot prawns is considered a sustainable, low environmental impact fishing method, and the pots themselves help protect the fishery. Each is assembled by hand with careful construction that enables prawns smaller than one inch to escape and reach maturity. 

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative

NOAA Fishwatch Rating: Not rated

Nutrition: Nutrition (per 100g): Protein 21.6g; Calories 100.8; Total Fat 1.2g 

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Starry Flounder / Platichthys stellatus

Along the coast of California, half the population of starry flounder is right-eyed and the other half is left-eyed. Also known as the California flounder, they spawn near river mouths and sloughs. Juveniles are found only in estuaries, and while adults can be found in ocean waters 1,200 feet...

Along the coast of California, half the population of starry flounder is right-eyed and the other half is left-eyed. Also known as the California flounder, they spawn near river mouths and sloughs. Juveniles are found only in estuaries, and while adults can be found in ocean waters 1,200 feet deep, they are estuary-dependent for reproduction. Much like chameleons and other species, they can change coloration to blend in with their surroundings, making them practically invisible to avoid predators. Yet they succumb to the appetites of marine mammals such as sea lions and seals. They feed primarily on zooplankton, small fish and crustaceans, amphipods, and copepods.

They are abundant in California's central coast area, mostly due to the many rivers, sloughs, and estuaries, such as the Santa Ynez River and Elkhorn Slough.

Lifespan: Up to 42 years

Size: Up to 3 feet and 11 lbs

Distribution: Found on soft bottoms up to 1,230 feet deep

How fished: Trawling and longline

Why sustainable: Starry flounder biomass has been increasing since 1997. This species is not in high demand commercially and therefore fishing pressure is low.

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not overfished

Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 91, Total Fat 1.19 g, Cholesterol 48mg, Omega-3 0.2g, Selenium 32.7mcg, Sodium 81mg, Protein 18.84g

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Swordfish / Xiphias gladius

One of the fastest and largest predators, swordfish have bodies that allow them to reach up to 50 mph. It is one of several large species known as billfish, which use their bills to slash at and stun their prey. They have unique features, such as special eye muscles and a heat exchange system...

One of the fastest and largest predators, swordfish have bodies that allow them to reach up to 50 mph. It is one of several large species known as billfish, which use their bills to slash at and stun their prey. They have unique features, such as special eye muscles and a heat exchange system that allows them to swim into deep waters for prey. Also, unlike fish, adults have no teeth or scales. Their hunting abilities allow them to grow quickly, reaching up to 15 feet in length and weighs of up to 1,400 pounds. Swordfish reach maturity at five to six years of age and spawn several times in the Spring and Summer in temperate waters off the Californian coast. They are great nomads, they can be found in all the oceans of the world, migrating thousands of miles every year. They feed on fish and invertebrates, such as squid and jellyfish.

Swordfish are at the top of the food chain, rarely preyed by other animals except for humans, though juveniles can be attacked by sharks and other large predators. One of the most well known behaviors of swordfish is their spectacular and powerful jumping abilities, also known as breaching.

Lifespan: 9 years

Size: Up to 15 ft and 1,433 lbs

Distribution: Travel mainly in mid-water depths, but can swim down to 650+ meters

How fished: Harpoon, rod and reel, gillnet, pelagic longline, and deep-set buoy gear

Why sustainable: The North Pacific population of swordfish is above its target population level and is harvested at sustainable levels. Harpoon and hand-line caught swordfish have little to no bycatch. The drift gillnet fishery for swordfish off California has also implemented many measures to reduce bycatch. This includes onboard observers in the drift gillnet fishery. Regulations prohibit fishing with drift gillnets north of Point Conception, California, from August 15 through October 31 to protect leatherback sea turtles. Regulations also include specific gear requirements for drift gillnets (e.g., pingers that emit sound to deter marine mammals, and net extenders that drop the net below the surface to allow marine mammals to pass without being entangled). Finally, if the fishery hits a certain level of bycatch the fishery is closed down for the rest of the year.

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice - Harpoon or Handline
Good Alternative - Drift Gillnet or Longline

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not overfished Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 121, Total Fat 4.01g, Cholesterol 39mg, Selenium 48.1mcg, Sodium 90mg, Protein 19.8g

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Thornyhead, Shortspine and Longspine / Sebastolobus alascanus and Sebastolobus altivelis

Also known as idiot, channel rockfish, fagiano ("pheasant" in Italian), bonehead, channel cod, gurnard, gurnet, hardhead, hooligan, idiotfish, lobe-finned rockfish, roundfin rockfish, scorpion, slim thornhead, spinycheeked rockfish, and thornhead. Thornyhead are particularly interesting because...

Also known as idiot, channel rockfish, fagiano ("pheasant" in Italian), bonehead, channel cod, gurnard, gurnet, hardhead, hooligan, idiotfish, lobe-finned rockfish, roundfin rockfish, scorpion, slim thornhead, spinycheeked rockfish, and thornhead. Thornyhead are particularly interesting because they have adapted to the deep “oxygen minimum” layer of the ocean where most fish cannot thrive. It has a huge head, both long and wide, housing very large gills.

It lives in the North Pacific, some as far south as the Mexican border, but most ranging from Northern California to Canada and from Russia as far south as northern Japan. In addition, thornyheads do not have swim bladders and are fairly hardy, which means unlike many other species that are brought up from the depths, they can be kept alive for live fish markets or released after capture with a much higher survival rate.

Lifespan: 80 to 100 years (shortspine) 45 years (longspine)

Size: Up to 2.5 feet and 25 lbs

Distribution: Found on the ocean floor in low oxygen environments down to 5,000 ft.

How fished: Rod and reel, trawl, longline

Why sustainable: NOAA fisheries did an assessment in 2013 that found thornyhead stocks to be healthy

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Green

NOAA FishWatch rating: Not rated

Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 82, Total Fat 0.63g, Cholesterol 37mg, Selenium 36.5mcg, Sodium 71mg, Protein 17.9g

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White Seabass / Atractoscion nobilis

The white seabass, also known as white weakfish or king croaker, is not a seabass at all. It is a member of the croaker family, and it is the largest croaker in the Pacific Ocean. This fish has been known to exceed 20 pounds (only in California), with the largest recorded specimen reaching over...

The white seabass, also known as white weakfish or king croaker, is not a seabass at all. It is a member of the croaker family, and it is the largest croaker in the Pacific Ocean. This fish has been known to exceed 20 pounds (only in California), with the largest recorded specimen reaching over 5 feet long and 93.1 pounds. They feed primarily on anchovies, sardines, and squid. Some adults have been found to have eaten nothing but Pacific mackerel, a strong tasting fish often used in sushi.

The white seabass fishery in California is subject to strong regulations, allowing the fish to reach a minimum of 28 inches in length and about 7.5 pounds in weight. This regulation allows the fish to reach maturity (about five years), so they can spawn before being caught.

Lifespan: Up to 20 years

Size: Average is 28” and 7.5 lbs

Distribution: Found in rocky and algal bottoms, 1 to 125 meters deep in nearshore bays and estuaries

How fished: Trolling or rod and reel

Why sustainable: The white sea bass population has recovered from heavier fishing pressure in the past. Today the population along the central coast of California and in Monterey Bay is believed to be healthy. When caught with hook and line, bycatch is very low.

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not rated

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