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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 our own shores, the water quality, and our own marine environment.”
- Paul Greenberg, American Catch
Albacore Tuna / Thunnus alalunga

Albacore tuna are some of the world’s greatest travelers. They are one of the most common tuna species and can be found in most of the world’s oceans. This species is abundant and supports a healthy fishery in the Pacific Ocean. Some individuals can reach lengths of 4.5 feet and weights of...

Albacore tuna are some of the world’s greatest travelers. They are one of the most common tuna species and can be found in most of the world’s oceans. This species is abundant and supports a healthy fishery in the Pacific Ocean. Some individuals can reach lengths of 4.5 feet and weights of nearly 100 pounds. Albacore tuna have a highly evolved circulatory system, allowing them to reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

Albacore are mostly caught offshore, and unlike most Monterey Bay-based fishing boats, albacore boats may be at sea for days or weeks at a time. On longer trips, flash freezing is used to keep the fish in optimal condition, and does not compromise quality. Albacore tuna can be found fresh, frozen, as sashimi, or as shiro maguro in sushi. It is greatly versatile, lending itself to dishes from sushi to tuna steaks. It is also fantastic when smoked.

Lifespan: 10 to 12 years

Size: Up to 4.5 feet and 100 lbs

Distribution: Found mainly in the upper portion of the water column

How fished: Longline and trolling

Why sustainable: Since albacore are a highly migratory species, they are managed at the state, national, and international levels. The Pacific Fishery Management Council considers the population healthy. Bycatch in the albacore fishery is relatively low.

MBA Seafood Watch rating: Best Choice

NOAA FishWatch rating: Not overfished

Nutrution (per 100g): Calories 108, Total Fat 0.95g, Cholesterol 45mg, Selenium 36.5mcg, Sodium 37mg, Protein 23.38g

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Big Sur Sanddabs / Citharichthys sordidus

Big Sur is stunning stretch between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Lucia Mountains; a winding dream of redwood forests, twisted cypress trees, and steep canyons outlined by a rocky, tempestuous coast. Poet Robinson Jeffers was inspired by Big Sur and wrote “Boats in a Fog” in the 1930’s. “Out of...

Big Sur is stunning stretch between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Lucia Mountains; a winding dream of redwood forests, twisted cypress trees, and steep canyons outlined by a rocky, tempestuous coast. Poet Robinson Jeffers was inspired by Big Sur and wrote “Boats in a Fog” in the 1930’s. “Out of the mystery, shadows, fishing boats, trailing each other/Following the cliff for guidance/Holding a difficult path between the peril of the sea-fog/And the foam on the shore granite.”

 They may well have been fishing for sanddabs, the smallest flatfish that we eat. This species has fallen in and out of vogue in California fine dining establishments over the years, but they 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.

The Pacific sanddab is the most common species of its genus. Native to the northern Pacific, from Japan to California, this flatfish has the ability to change its color and pattern to match its surroundings, making it virtually invisible to predators.

Sanddabs are most easily caught using bottom trawls, but with much of Monterey Bay waters closed to trawling, fishermen have increased the use of hook and line techniques to catch these small treasures.

Lifespan: 10 – 13 years

Size: 8 to 16 inches and 1/3 lb to 2lbs

Distribution: Found bottom dwelling at around 120 to 300 feet deep

Why sustainable: Consistent landings indicate that populations are stable. Hook & line 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: Good Alternative

 

 

 

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Carmel Canyon Black Cod (Sablefish)/Anoplopoma fimbria

Carmel is a charming town known for cypress trees shaped into sculptures by the winds blowing off the Pacific Ocean and movie star mayors; however, the Carmel Canyon is a submarine valley characterized by steep rocky cliff walls and gentle slopes. This is a popular fishing site for black cod in...

Carmel is a charming town known for cypress trees shaped into sculptures by the winds blowing off the Pacific Ocean and movie star mayors; however, the Carmel Canyon is a submarine valley characterized by steep rocky cliff walls and gentle slopes. This is a popular fishing site for black cod in the Monterey Bay. These are also known as sablefish or butterfish because they are so rich with healthy, flavorful oil, and in fact have double the omega-3’s as salmon. These fish dwell deep, from 980 to 8,860 ft. and are often caught along steep walls of canyons. 

While this is a delicious, healthful, and sustainable seafood choice, most of California’s black cod gets shipped to Japan, where this seafood loving culture snaps it up. It’s starting to become more prevalent here, as Japanese chefs have introduced it the Americans and it’s most often served as Miso-Glazed Black Cod, or simmered with a Japanese style broth.  Since it has such a high oil content, it’s perfect for smoking, so we featured fresh black cod as seafood shares to our CSF members, and Carmel Canyon Smoked Black Cod on our webstore.

Lifespan: Up to 94 years

Size: Up to 4 feet

Distribution: Found on muddy sea beds as deep as 9,000 feet

How fished: Bottom trawl, bottom longlines, and pots.

Why sustainable: The sablefish population off the California coast is extremely healthy at 96% of its target level and is harvested at sustainable rates (NOAA FishWatch). The fishery is intensively managed, and is part of the Catch Shares program.

MBA Seafood Watch rating: Best Choice and Good Alternative

NOAA FishWatch rating: Not overfished

Nutrution (per 100g): Calories 195, Total Fat 15.3g, Total Protein 13.4g, Omega-3 1.66g, Cholesterol 49mg, Sodium 56mg

 

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Jack Mackerel/Trachurus symmetricus

Jack Mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus) are streamlined fish, blue or green on back and silvery below. Currently, landings are low along much of the Pacific Coast, although they are caught as bycatch in the salmon and albacore fisheries. The Pacific jack mackerel offers nearly as much omega-3 fats...

Jack Mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus) are streamlined fish, blue or green on back and silvery below. Currently, landings are low along much of the Pacific Coast, although they are caught as bycatch in the salmon and albacore fisheries. The Pacific jack mackerel offers nearly as much omega-3 fats per serving as salmon. It's firm and flaky, and can be used in place of salmon or tuna in recipes. 

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California Halibut / Paralichthys californicus

You think stealth technology only exists in planes? Think again. California halibut are the ultimate stealth hunters, using camoflage, their large, sharp teeth and cautious, surreptitious movements to catch their prey. Their teeth are so sharp that among fishermen they are known to induce a...

You think stealth technology only exists in planes? Think again. California halibut are the ultimate stealth hunters, using camoflage, their large, sharp teeth and cautious, surreptitious movements to catch their prey. Their teeth are so sharp that among fishermen they are known to induce a nasty bite if not handled properly.

This bottom-dwelling flatfish is native to the waters of the North American Pacific Coast, 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. In Monterey Bay, bottom trawling used to be the main method used to catch this fish, but since trawling within the bay ended in 2007, the good old rod and reel is the primary method used now. When buying California halibut, make sure not to confuse it with its cousin, the Pacific halibut, which has a more northern distribution.

Lifespan: Max: 30 yrs, Avg: 20 yrs

Size: Typically weights 6-50 lbs.

Distribution: Found on the sandy ocean floor in bays, estuaries, and beyond the shoreline

How fished: Rod and reel and trawling

Why sustainable: Landings of California halibut have stayed consistent which indicates that populations are not being depleted. A 2011 California Department of Fish and Game stock assessment found the Central California population to be healthy. When caught with hook and line, bycatch is very low.

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice for hand caught, Good Alternative for trawl and gill nets.

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not overfished

Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 110, Total Fat 2.29g, Cholesterol 32mg, Selenium 36.5mcg, Sodium 54mg, Protein 20.81g

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Dungeness Crab / Metacarcinus magister

Eight legs, two claws, a wide, long, hard shell, a delicious taste, and one of the best-managed fisheries in the world; these are some of the characteristics that make Dungeness crab so amazing.

Dungeness crabs molt (or shed) its shell periodically to allow for new growth. Molting happens between...

Eight legs, two claws, a wide, long, hard shell, a delicious taste, and one of the best-managed fisheries in the world; these are some of the characteristics that make Dungeness crab so amazing.

Dungeness crabs molt (or shed) its shell periodically to allow for new growth. Molting happens between May and August and mating occurs immediately after the female has molted and before the new exoskeleton hardens. They can grow up to 1 inch during the yearly molting, but at this time their shells become really thin, making them vulnerable to predators. They protect themselves by fully burying under the sand while the shell hardens. A chivalrous crustacean, the male dungeness crab embraces the female for several days before mating. Female dungeness crabs can carry up to 2.5 million eggs in one breeding season! But, many of the eggs don’t make it to adulthood…nor to your plate. The young crabs go through five laval stages before reaching maturity, which takes about two years. They take an additional two years to reach full adulthood and their legal harvest size of 6 1/4 inches across the shell.

The delicate flavor of dungeness crab meat may be due to their diet: they feed primarily on clams and small crustaceans and fish.

Lifespan: 8-13 years

Size: 7 inches across back and 2-4 lbs

Distribution:Found in low intertidal to over 600 ft deep

Why sustainable: Dungeness crab populations on the West Coast are abundant 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. Traps are simply a “crab jail” and release of live animals is easy.

Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

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King Salmon / Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Also known as Chinook and Pacific Salmon, the King salmon is the largest salmon species in the Pacific and they have a fantastic story. They are one of the great nomads when it comes to fish… salmon hatch in a river and stay there until they are strong enough to make their way out to the open...

Also known as Chinook and Pacific Salmon, the King salmon is the largest salmon species in the Pacific and they have a fantastic story. They are one of the great nomads when it comes to fish… salmon hatch in a river and stay there until they are strong enough to make their way out to the open sea. They then spend at least three to four years at sea feeding on plankton, kelp, jellyfish, and even starfish. They adapt by undergoing physiological changes that allow them to successfully live in both fresh and salt water. King salmon need a healthy habitat where they can gain the strength to swim upstream when it is time to return to their home river to spawn and die. Their well-known pink coloration comes from the krill in their diet (this is the reason why farmed salmon is often dyed pink).

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

Lifespan: 4-10 years Size: Up to 4.5ft and 130lbs

Distribution: Found in the open waters of

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative

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Lingcod / Ophiodon elongatus

In the case of lingcod, it’s not a question of white meat or dark meat – it’s more about blue flesh or green flesh. That’s right, prior to cooking, the lingcod’s flesh is either blue or green. Nicknamed buckethead, the lingcod is unique and native to the North American Pacific coast and is...

In the case of lingcod, it’s not a question of white meat or dark meat – it’s more about blue flesh or green flesh. That’s right, prior to cooking, the lingcod’s flesh is either blue or green. Nicknamed buckethead, the lingcod is unique and native to the North American Pacific coast and is neither ling nor cod, but its name originated because it somewhat resembles those fish. They have a large head and mouth, with 18 large and sharp teeth making them voracious eaters, feeding on anything that will fit inside their mouths, including invertebrates such as octopus, and many species of fish, such as herring, rockfish, and salmon.

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. Young lingcod can migrate up to 60 miles annually and females migrate seasonally to spawn, laying between 40,000 and 500,000 eggs depending on their size. Incredibly, much like birds, male lingcod guard the nests for nearly ten weeks until the eggs hatch. Guarding the nest is essential to the spawning, since rockfish, starfish, sculpins, kelp greenling, and cod can eat an entire nest in just hours.

Lifespan: 7 years

Size: Up to 60 inches

Distribution: Found to occupy near shore rocky habitat up to 413 feet.

How fished: Hook&line and trawl

Why sustainable: 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. Open access fishery has monthly limits. 

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice and Good Alternative

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not overfished

Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 128, Protein 22.08 g, Fat, total 3.71 g
Saturated fatty acids, total 0.69 g, Carbohydrate 0.48 g

 

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Market Squid / Doryteuthis opalescens

Did you know that the calamari you love to eat so much comes from California’s most valuable fishery? 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. This squid lays egg...

Did you know that the calamari you love to eat so much comes from California’s most valuable fishery? 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. This squid lays egg beds that can cover acres of the ocean floor. They are natural predators with eight arms and two longer tentacles ending in tentacular clubs equipped with suckers at their ends. These appendages allow them to prey on fish, crabs, shrimp, mollusks and other young squid. Juvenile squid (~2 months old) assemble in large groups in search for food.

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, was originally begun by Chinese immigrants and later executed by Italian immigrants. Within Monterey Bay, the fishery typically operates from April to November.

Lifespan: roughly 9 months Size: 12 inches and 5 ounces

Distribution: Found in open waters above the continental shelf and up to 800 meters deep

How fished: Purse Seine

Why sustainable: 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: Good Alternative

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Unknown

Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 92, Total Fat 1.38g, Cholesterol 233mg, Selenium 44.8mcg, Sodium 44mg, Protein 15.58g, good source of riboflavin and Vitamin B12

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Miyagi Oysters

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 oysters come from Tomales Bay and Morro Bay. These marvelous mollusks can EACH clean up to 50 gallons of water a...

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 oysters come from Tomales Bay and Morro Bay. These marvelous mollusks can EACH clean up to 50 gallons of water a day.

Oyster reefs also create habitat for thousands of other sea creatures, many of which, like mussels and clams, also help filter water. Oyster beds also shape the bottom of bays so that waves break before crashing on shore, creating protection during storm surges. This allows marsh grasses to grow, and their root structure helps to stop erosion.They are filter feeders, they feed by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, such as pythoplankton and broken down kelp particles. They do this by siphoning water into their systems and filtering out their desired food. They mostly consume algae and stop blooms that are harmful to bays, but are super healthy for you.

Cooking with your Oysters Oysters are a great source of protein and even have a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. They are very versatile and can be served baked, steamed, grilled, or my favorite raw! For wine pairings, stick with crisp whites like Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre or sparkling wine/champagne.

Why Sustainable: Oysters are as sustainable as sustainble 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

Nutrition (1 piece): Protein 9.45g; Calories 81; Total Fat 0.5g; Omega 3's 0.72g; Cholesterol 50mg; Sodium 106mg; 

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Monterey Bay Anchovy / family Engraulidae

The Monterey Bay is one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world. This stretch of the Pacific Ocean has a series of submarine canyons channeling through the bottom of the ocean floor including the Monterey Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon. An internal tide pushes the cold,...

The Monterey Bay is one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world. This stretch of the Pacific Ocean has a series of submarine canyons channeling through the bottom of the ocean floor including the Monterey Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon. An internal tide pushes the cold, deep water up the canyon walls twice a day, swapping out with warmer waters from nearby Moss Landing Beach. The upwelling of krill from the canyon every day creates rich habitat for a diversity of marine life, which includes shoals of anchovies that trigger feeding frenzies of whales, seals, sea otters and squads of pelicans. In fact at least 90 species of fish, birds, mammals, and invertebrates eat this species. We should be joining the abundance and eating these delicious protein and omega-3 rich delicacies as well.

Unfortunately, most commercially caught anchovies are reduced to pellets or frozen into blocks and shipped overseas to feed tuna and salmon farms. For every pound of farmed salmon, it takes 3 pounds of anchovies, and 22 pounds of anchovies are used for every pound of ranched tuna produced. This is a huge inefficiency and a waste of a marvelous food source.

 We like to get them fresh and keep them local. Sautéed in olive oil and garlic, deep fried as “fries with eyes” or preserved in salt and vinegar are some of our favorite ways to enjoy them. On occasion, we offer them fresh as a share, and we have Monterey Bay Anchovy Boquerones available on our webstore.

 

Lifespan: 7 years

Size: Up to 9.7 inches

Distribution: Found to occupy open water from the surface to 200 meters deep

How fished: Purse seine

Why sustainable: Biomass off the US West Coast is high. Anchovy are caught with gear that have little impact on habitats and very low accidental catch. Management is strong, with annual quotas and a limited-entry fishery.

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not overfished

Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 178, Total Fat 11.9g, Total Protein 16.3g, Omega-3 1.9g, Cholesterol 61mg, Sodium 414mg

 

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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, as 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, as they are an important prey species and an important predator.

Pacific herring prefer breeding in bays and estuaries, making the Californian 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. The Japanese turned to the United States, setting off a "silver rush" in San Francisco and Tomales bays and leading to fishing limits in 1973. Since then, local herring has been harvested mostly for its high-priced roe, with the rest made into fertilizer and fish meal fed to pigs, chickens, pets and farmed fish. It's also used for bait in other fisheries. Watch this video of Pacific Herring fishing just off San Francisco’s Embarcadero! Or 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 under-utilized

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 reproduce rapidly, making them an abundant species from southeastern Alaska to the Gulf of California. They 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...

Pacific sardines reproduce rapidly, making them an abundant species from southeastern Alaska to the Gulf of California. They 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. Migrations, or “sardine runs,” attract many predators, such as larger fish, marine mammals, and seabirds, often creating feeding frenzies.

Pacific sardines can grow to be almost a foot long and reach maturity at age one to two, depending on location and population density. In Monterey Bay, sardines may spawn year round, with peaks generally occurring between April and August. They can also spawn multiple times per season, since the eggs are fertilized externally.

Lifespan: 14 years Size: Up to 1.3 feet and 150-175 grams

Distribution: Found to occupy open water from the surface to 200 meters deep

How fished: Purse seine Why sustainable: Biomass off the US West Coast is high, having undergone a remarkable recovery since the population crash of the 1950s. Sardines are caught with gear that have little impact on habitats and very low accidental catch. Management is strong, with annual quotas and a limited-entry fishery.

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not overfished

Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 178, Total Fat 11.9g, Total Protein 16.3g, Omega-3 1.9g, Cholesterol 61mg, Sodium 414mg

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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 in their shells, which are secreted by the mantle. 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. Some have been known to reach up to 12.3 inches in length, and red abalone are the largest members of their genus. 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 predation, high mortality rates, over harvesting, competition for resources with other species, illegal harvesting, 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 abalonefarming 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. Check out these delicious LCMB abalone recipes.

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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 US west coast. Highly perishable ridgeback prawns are usually sold live, however they can be frozen as long as the head is removed, to avoid discolorization of the meat. 

Ridgeback prawns are...

The ridgeback prawn gets its name from its hard shell. It is the only species of rock shrimp along the US west coast. Highly perishable ridgeback prawns are usually sold live, however they can be frozen as long as the head is removed, to avoid discolorization of the meat. 

Ridgeback prawns 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!

The ridgeback prawn fishery is characterized as high value and low volume. That means the fish don't catch many but they get a good price for them. Fishing effort is oncentrated in Santa Barbara though the range is from Monterey Bay to Isla Maria Madre in Mexico, including the Sea of Cortez.

Lifespan: 5 years

Size: 1.5-1.8 inches

Distribution: Monterey Bay to Mexico from 148 feet to 525 feet in depth in substrates of sand, shell, and green mud

Why Sustainable: Fishery is relatively small with about 11 vessels actively engaged in the fishery. 

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative

NOAA Fishwatch Rating: Not rated

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

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Rockfish (Rock Cod) / Genus Sebastes and Sebastolobus

What is commonly known in your local market or restaurant as “rock cod” or “red snapper” is actually one of several dozen species of rockfish. The southern half of the Californian coast has the most rockfish diversity anywhere, with at least 56 different species known. With names ranging from...

What is commonly known in your local market or restaurant as “rock cod” or “red snapper” is actually one of several dozen species of rockfish. The southern half of the Californian coast has the most rockfish diversity anywhere, with at least 56 different species known. With names ranging from chilipepper to yellowtail, gopher to thornyheads, rockfish are indeed a diverse group. The black rockfish is the most common species off the North American West Coast, where its populations are known to be stable.

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. They breed through internal fertilization: the female stores the sperm until the eggs are fully developed. Females can produce in excess of one million eggs in a season.

Rockfish are not only delicious, but many rockfish species are abundant in Monterey Bay.

Lifespan: 30-50 years

Size: 10-12 inches and 11-26 lbs Distribution: Found in the intertidal to over 800 meters deep

How fished: Trawls, rod and reel, and traps

Why sustainable: Nearshore species are faster growing and shorter lived, which makes them less susceptible to overfishing. 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.

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not overfished

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

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Spot Prawn/Pandalus platyceros

 

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 

 

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 / Platichthy 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 Californian 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 Californian 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.

In California they are abundant in the central coast, mostly due to the high prevalence of 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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Thornyhead (Shortspine and Longspine) / Sebastolobus alascanus and Sebastolobus altivelis

Also known as an 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. This species are particularly interesting...

Also known as an 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. This species are particularly interesting because they have adapted to the deep “oxygen minimum” layer of the ocean where most fish can not 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 mostly Northern California, Washington State, Canada and Russia, but as far south as northern Japan. In addition, thornyheads do not have swim bladders and are fairly hearty, which means unlike many other species that are brought up from the depths, these fish can be kept live 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 5,000ft How fished: rod and reel, trawl, longline

Why sustainable: NOAA fisheries did an assessment in 2005 that found fish stocks to be healthy. The health of these stocks is being reassessed in 2013.

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 Sea Bass / Atractoscion nobilis

The white sea bass, also known as white weakfish or king croaker, is not a sea bass 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...

The white sea bass, also known as white weakfish or king croaker, is not a sea bass 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 sea bass 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: Avg. 28”, 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 methods, bycatch is very low.

MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice

NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not rated

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Pacific Bonito (Sarda chiliensis)

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

Pacific Bonitio are a tuna like fish from the same family as Albacore tuna (Scombridae). They have beautiful dark blue coloring on top which fades to silver on their underbelly, and are easily identified by dark slanted bands along their sides. Fast growing, Bonitio often weigh 3 pounds within a year of hatching, the raipd growth and extremely efficent body shape makes them popular among fishermem because they are known for their speed and strength.

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 nino weather evetns, 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 Fact 100 grams +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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Petrale Sole

Petrale sole, like halibut and flounder, is a flatfish with mild, white flesh whose habitat ranges from Alaska to Baja California. It's not actually sole, but a member of the flounder family. It's a light, delicately flavored white fish, slightly nutty and delicious. Its flesh is quite firm,...

Petrale sole, like halibut and flounder, is a flatfish with mild, white flesh whose habitat ranges from Alaska to Baja California. It's not actually sole, but a member of the flounder family. It's a light, delicately flavored white fish, slightly nutty and delicious. Its flesh is quite firm, making it a versatile fish for any dish. 

 

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Manila Clams

This species is native from southern Siberia to China. It was introduced to the west coast of North America with oyster spat from Japan and now occurs from the British Columbia coast to the central coast of California, and in Marina del Rey. They are sometimes referred to as Japanese...

This species is native from southern Siberia to China. It was introduced to the west coast of North America with oyster spat from Japan and now occurs from the British Columbia coast to the central coast of California, and in Marina del Rey. They are sometimes referred to as Japanese littlenecks, and commonly known as steamers.

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