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Nov 19, 2006 04:57 AM

Is buying fish worth it any more?

I recently went to a fish market in Milford NH the other day and had a real bout with sticker shock.
- Swordfish, $10 a pound
- Halibut, $9 a pound
- Salmon, $9 a pound

(Some were cheaper, but not many)

Is fish worth buying any more?

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  1. Worth is entirely subjective, so I would suggest that, yes, it is worth it to enough people to keep the stores and fishermen in business. Price is one of the few controls that may be able to keep people from demanding so much of this that we overfish to the point of having no fish other than farm-raised to eat in the future. These prices will definitely test your love of the product though, and if you can longer afford what you love, I sympathize.

    1. If you like fish it's still worth it. If price is an issue, try some of the flash frozen stuff like from Trader Joe's. It's not bad for an average home cooked meal...although fresh fish is always better IMO. Just be glad you're near the coast...imagine trying to get fresh fish in a plains state. My sister lives in Denver and one of the first things she does when she gets to SF is have a 1/4 of the price in Colo.

      1. You are lucky in some ways. The price of most of those fish you listed are double in Los Angeles. Swordfish and real (wild) salmon, for instance, always cost close to or over $20 per pound at the market I shop at.

        Think about it this way. Fish are limited resources. Your fish markets are charging the price they need to pay for the resource, i.e. the costs needed to pay for the increasing difficulties in the fishing industry, because certain species, such as the Atlantic swordfish, are becoming rare.

        The question you have to ask yourself is, (1) is my fish coming from a reputable source (i.e. one that isn't violating international fishing laws and is from a sustainable resource), and (2) does the fish I'm buying taste good enough to me to spend the money on it.

        I for one, LOVE fish. And I will continue to eat it. But when I do so, I will be sure to buy varieties that are viable, and will be willing to pay the fair price for what it costs to eat fish. If fish becomes a luxury, so be it. It probably already should be, and we should adjust our expectations likewise.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DanaB

          wow, I second that. boo Los Angeles-- expensive and not that great either. props to NH, but i can understand how you feel seeing the prices escalate.

          Have a Costco near you? Fish there is considerably less expensive than at my local market and because of their high turnover, it's very fresh and soo good. Unfortunately the selection is kind of limited.

        2. I totally agree and I live in NYC. I have been trying less popular fish with a good deal of success. Tilapia, bass, etc.

          5 Replies
          1. re: BarbaraGale

            Beware of tilapia! besides being pretty flavorless, much of it is factory-farmed in environmentally-unethical ways. And I think there have been cases of contamination and high toxin levels.

            1. re: ghbrooklyn

              Trader Joe's has frozen tilapia for $3.59. It's farm raised and from China. I'm guessing that's not good. I've read that farm-rasied catfish is usually okay.

              1. re: Glencora

                To answer my own question (sort of), the Monterey Bay Aquarium site says US farmed tilapia is one of the best choices. It doesn't mention tilapia from China.

                  1. re: DanaB

                    Thanks, I didn't search around enough.

          2. Bunnyr, those are pretty good prices from where I'm sitting in Florida! (Okay, I'm in Naples which is overpriced in just about everything else too...) The fish you mention are all around $20/lb. here right now. We try to eat fish once or twice a week and that's becoming impossible financially but I do watch the sales. One fish market had fresh cod on sale for $7.99/pound and mahi-mahi will often be on sale for around that price too. I remember just a few short years ago when it was $5.99 on sale, but not anymore! The great thing about fish is that there's barely any waste so it's still a good buy but $20/pound is beyond reach for me, that's for sure. I am however able to find large wild shrimp for $6.99 per pound at Albertson's regularly and sometimes even cheaper if it's on sale that week, so maybe there are certain trade-offs depending on where you live. Tried an incredible Wolfgang Puck recipe using a Chardonnay-Dijon cream sauce last night that we swooned over which I'll post on the home cooking board today.