As its popularity continues to climb, Seafood is becoming a staple at family dinner tables, barbecues, and restaurants. While markets target consumers with low price ads on a variety of seafood items, it is important to recognize “all fish is not created equal”. Catch method, origin, trim level, aquaculture techniques and freshness all affect price on product that can be marketed under identical names! It is important that as consumers we educate ourselves on what to look for and the questions to ask when selecting a retailer, or making your choice at the seafood counter. Value is not solely measured in cost per pound; it is a combined measure of cost, quality and freshness as well as responsible harvesting practices.
In an effort to motivate the consumer to shop locally for their seafood, a joint effort between local fishermen and The Nature Conservancy has lead to the development of a unique model for fishery management at the local level. By locally monitoring fishing quotas and methods, Central Coast fishermen can more readily supply local seafood purveyors with the freshest product, produced responsibly and available at fair prices.
As a consumer there are a few questions you can ask your local fish monger or restaurant about their seafood, thus ensuring you are purchasing product that is high quality and produced responsibly. By doing so, you are also supporting Central Coast fishermen and our local economy: Is it in season? Seafood is like fruit, you will get the best quality and freshest product if you buy what is in season. If it is whole, are the eyes clear and bright? Are fillets moist and glistening or is there visible drying or discoloring? Is the smell of the market area a fresh ocean fragrance or is it overpowered by foul odors? Where was the fish caught? How was it caught? Who was the producer? When trying to source high quality fresh product, the more your seafood fish monger knows about the story behind the fish, the more confidence you can have in the seafood they are providing.
To maximize you and your family’s experience, make sure you are receiving the best value for your dollar.
Giovanni Comin is president of Central Coast Seafood.