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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
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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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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Lingcod / Ophiodon elongatus

Prior to cooking, the lingcod’s flesh can sometimes appear bright blue or green, making it a distinctive species at your local fish monger. And after cooking, they'll turn white. Lingcod is nicknamed buckethead, and is native to the North American Pacific coast but is neither ling nor cod. Its...

Prior to cooking, the lingcod’s flesh can sometimes appear bright blue or green, making it a distinctive species at your local fish monger. And after cooking, they'll turn white. Lingcod is nicknamed buckethead, and is native to the North American Pacific coast but is neither ling nor cod. Its name originated because it somewhat resembles those fish. Lingcod also support a popular recreational fishery.

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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Ridgeback Prawn / Sicyonia ingentis

The ridgeback prawn gets its name from its hard shell. It is the only species of rock shrimp along the U.S. west coast. They are broadcast spawners, sending their eggs into the open ocean, as opposed to other shrimp that carry their fertilized eggs with them until they hatch. Females produce...

The ridgeback prawn gets its name from its hard shell. It is the only species of rock shrimp along the U.S. west coast. They are broadcast spawners, sending their eggs into the open ocean, as opposed to other shrimp that carry their fertilized eggs with them until they hatch. Females produce about 86,000 eggs on average during the spawning season of June through October. Having a high fertility rate is important for a species that is enjoyed by lingcod, halibut, sharks, rays, octopus, and humans alike.

Cooking Tips: Whatever you do, be sure to eat them fresh or remove the head and freeze right away, since they are highly perishable. They are fantastic for raw preparations, or quickly cooked for a pasta dish.

Catch Method: Bottom Trawl

Sustainability: This fishery was overfished in the 1990's and we can understand why Seafood Watch would be cautious, but we feel that our ridgeback shrimp fishing partners are operating sustainably. Fishermen are reporting very little bycatch this season so far, and they are using gear modifications and fishing in sandy bottom areas to avoid harming the seafloor. The fishery is closed from June-September to protect spawning females, and in general management is strict because of the history in this fishery. Only about 11 permit holders actually fished for ridgebacks last year.

- MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Avoid

- NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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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 as many varities as we can find. Chilipepper Rockfish, Blackgill Rockfish, Boccaccio Rockfish, Splitnose Rockfish, Vermillion Rockfish, Gopher Rockfish are a few of our favorites. "Rock Cod" or...

There are more than seventy rockfish species native to the Pacific coast of the U.S. and we offer as many varities as we can find. Chilipepper Rockfish, Blackgill Rockfish, Boccaccio Rockfish, Splitnose Rockfish, Vermillion Rockfish, Gopher Rockfish are a few of our favorites. "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 sometimes 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: Best Choice and Good Alternative

- 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 have in and out of vogue over the years in California restaurants. They feed on...

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 have in and out of vogue over the years in California restaurants. 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 a large species of shrimp that sell for high prices and typically land in southern California. They are sold live whenever possible, or quickly frozen, since they have an enzyme in their shell which will deteriorate the flesh quickly after they die. The fishery originated by...

Spot prawns are a large species of shrimp that sell for high prices and typically land in southern California. They are sold live whenever possible, or quickly frozen, since they have an enzyme in their shell which will deteriorate the flesh quickly after they die. The fishery originated by accident in the early 1930's in Monterey when they were caught incidentally in octopus traps.

The season runs from November - February typically, but in practice it only lasts for a few weeks due to conservative catch limits.

Culinary Tips: Most chefs will not cook spot prawns at all, and will serve them raw referred to as "amaebi" on sushi menus. If you do cook them, keep the preparation simple and cook them quickly to keep their buttery sweet flavor.

Catch Method: Traps

Sustainability: Traps produce little bycatch, and the areas with sensitive marine habitat or whale migrations that might get entangled in traps are highly regulated. This is a relatively small fishery in terms of volume, so overfishing is not likely to be happening.

- MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative

- NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A

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Starry Flounder / Platichthys stellatus

Also known as California flounder, half the population of starry flounder is right-eyed and the other half is left-eyed. 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...

Also known as California flounder, half the population of starry flounder is right-eyed and the other half is left-eyed. 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.

Culinary Tips: Starry flounder are best prepared in a recipe calling for dover sole or petrale sole. They delicate texture and mild flavor are ideal for broiling, pan frying, or gently sauteeing in a meuniere recipe.

Catch Method: Bottom Trawling

Sustainability: Starry flounder is another well-managed species in the West Coast Groundfish Fishery. Overfishing is not occuring in party because this species is not in high demand commercially. Gear modifications on bottom trawls minimize habitat disruption that is sometimes an issue with this gear type.

- MBA Seafood Watch rating: Best Choice

- NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: 4 out of 4

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Thornyhead, Shortspine and Longspine / Sebastolobus alascanus and Sebastolobus altivelis

These species have many aliases: idiot fish, channel rockfish, fagiano ("pheasant" in Italian), bonehead, channel cod, gurnard, gurnet, hardhead, hooligan, lobe-finned rockfish, roundfin rockfish, scorpion, slim thornhead, and spinycheeked rockfish. Thornyhead are particularly interesting...

These species have many aliases: idiot fish, channel rockfish, fagiano ("pheasant" in Italian), bonehead, channel cod, gurnard, gurnet, hardhead, hooligan, lobe-finned rockfish, roundfin rockfish, scorpion, slim thornhead, and spinycheeked rockfish. Thornyhead are particularly interesting because they have adapted to the deep “oxygen minimum” layer of the ocean where most fish cannot thrive. They have huge heads, both long and wide, housing very large gills.

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. 

Culinary Tips: Thornyheads are closely related to rockfish, so they are just as versatile and can be substituted for any rockfish recipes. Due to their small size and big heads, they are best prepared whole, roasted, steamed or fried, and eaten off the bone to maximize yield and flavor.

Catch Method: Bottom Trawl, Hook and Line

Sustainability: NOAA fisheries did an assessment in 2013 that found thornyhead stocks to be healthy. All thorny heads are well managed under the West Coast Groundfish Fishery. 

- MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

- NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: 4 out of 4

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