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Which fish are in season now, locally?

I was wondering which fish are in season right now...I never know which fish are freshest at different times of the year, but I certainly figure it out after I order or buy subpar fish! Any relevant info would be appreciated.

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  1. Do you mean local fish or what's available locally? If you mean local fish, rock cod, which is a snapper, is in season right now.

    What's in season and available in the stores? I was just by Whole Foods (pas store is in my hood) and fresh Virginia striped bass just came in, and there's always tuna and swordfish.

    5 Replies
    1. re: diningdivala

      Thanks. I mean, what's available locally (not necessarily from local waters, though) and is in ample supply and very fresh this time of year. For instance, it always seems like salmon is more plentiful and tastes fresher certain times of year, but I don't know when that is (and for other fish as well).

      1. re: Nicole

        If possible, ask your fishmonger if the salmon is farmed, or wild caught - huge difference in flavor and quality. Farmed salmon is fed on fishmeal which not only is environmentally unsound, but is also loaded with nasties like PCBs, which builds up in the tissue of the fish. Salmon normally eat relatively low in the food chain, but because the fishmeal is comprised of just about any protein source from the sea - mostly "trash fish," and remnants of medium to larger fishes, the load of toxins that concentrates into this fishmeal is high. Furthermore, because wild salmon tissue derives its redish coloring from its main foodsource, krill - its shell has a reddish pigment - farm-raised salmon would have a greyish tissue - the color of uninhanced fishmeal. Artificial pigments - a somewhat more muted tone of wild salmon - is added to the fishmeal to give the flesh a salmon-like color. I believe if you search-engine the subject, you will even get advice as to limiting your intake of farm-raised salmon to once or twice a week because of these issues.

        1. re: Nicole

          Nicole -

          This is a complex and fascinating topic - too much so to summarize here, but I think I know what you mean. The supermarket may have a bunch of nice-looking dungeness crabs lined up, but should you be buying these in May, or say, wild salmon instead? I'd be curious to hear input from those more knowledgable than I, but the website seafoodchoices.org has a search function where you can type in the species (within a list of "environementally smart choices") and learn about conservation issues, seasonality, etc.

          They also have a list of restaurants that serve up "sustainable" seafood (again, read the fine print to find out what exactly this means):

          http://www.seafoodchoices.org/smartch...

          "Local" as in Los Angeles/Santa Monica Bay seafood can be problematic in terms of contaminants (and probably won't turn up in local markets or restaurants anyway), and the issue is further muddled by the year-round availability of cheap fish from all corners of the globe, which can create an artificial sense of abundance of some very rare species (incl. tropical groupers, billfish).

          1. re: cant talk...eating

            Dungeness crab is available year round. If you ask a fishmonger what season is best, he's likely to tell you, "It's good when it's good." Meaning the conditions change on a weekly basis, not just seasonally.

            Do some research on Scottish and Irish farmed salmon. The price point is between Atlantic farmed salmon and Wild Salmon. It's a much more environmentally sustainable and healthy product. And tasty.

            1. re: fooddude37

              Where are you getting info on Scottish and Irish farmed Salmon? According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/SeafoodWatch...
              farmed salmon should be avoided WORLDWIDE. Interesting especially is how much feces farmed fish produce and what happens to it: http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/cr_seafoodwa...

      2. There are many fish available year round that fluctuate depending on current conditions. Grouper, for instance, would traditionally be considered a springtime fish in south america, and then in the fall you'll see it shipped from the East Coast. Most fish mongers don't carry fish that's too out of season; the quality generally sucks and is more expensive.

        That said, I've picked up some Tai snapper and wild striped bass from Santa Monica Seafood this past week that were both absolutely top notch. Esp the tai snapper. (FYI they'll sell it as New Zealand snapper [technically it's not even snapper]. The term 'Tai' just means snapper in Japanese, correct me if I'm wrong.)

        The halibut season is starting up soon, but due to the conditions of the environment, I'm afraid Halibut will be one of the first fish we'll see skyrocket in price due to limited quantities.

        Softshells should be coming in soon, a month or so.

        If you find a fishmonger you like (I recommend SMS) chat it up with them. They'll know weeks in advance what's going on in the market as far as sales, quality, and quantity. That striped bass I got is usually 8 dollars more per pound but they had a surplus and it was extremely fresh.

        Arctic char is consistently good, and cheap.

        Wild salmon is one of the more "seasonal" fish I think you're referring to.

        1. Good Question...HOW to buy fish, hopefully local, and know that your getting something worth eating?
          I have previously praised Santa Monica Seafood on these boards many times. But they have gone downhill. I always loved how when you walked in the door the place had a good salty seawater smell. Lately it has had that bad ammonia smell, like a cheap grocery store fish counter!! And the fish I have choosen was not worth the $$, once halibut, once mahi, both were old tasting. Not BAD, but not the tasty fresh fish I expected.
          I try to get fish that is local, that to me is Pacific Coast.In case anyone missed the news, our own Santa Monica bay has the worst DDT pollution , tons of it from an underwater dump off Palos Verdes in the 1950's. There are some local fishing boats that work off the California coast, out of Ventura and places North... strict fishing regulations determine what is caught when....including snapper, halibut, sand dabs, and D. crabs. I imagine there are large boats that fish off Central America and bring in to port in LA, maybe mahi, tuna etc. If these are line caught I would feel ok eating them. And for a real local treat there is a guy with a truck who sells Santa Barbara shrimp ( really like little langoustine or rock lobsters) sometimes just before Point Magu up pch. I tried some off these a few months back and they were tasty though a lot of work to peel.
          Bottom line, I find myself eating more and more canned fish, good quality tuna and salmon. I am thinking about ordering a case of Wild alaska salmon from one of the fishing boats that can and ship their own....
          Got any better ideas??

          2 Replies
          1. re: ciaolette

            I get my fish from the Anjin II fish truck at various farmer's markets. Their fish ios local, as in channel islands and that area. Plus is was caught the day before. They are a family owned fish company and sell to many fine local restaurants, as well. My second choice is santa monica seafood. If I am getting fresh dungeness crab meat, I ask for a small taste first. And I have asked to smell the fish before, but they kind of frown on that. So instead of being disapointed when I get home, I always smell the fish at my care before leaving, because I have gotten smelly fish there on occasion.

            1. re: budlit

              that is a great idea re Santa Monica Seafood...I never thought to open the package in the car...
              Will try Anjin, they are at the wednesday market too...thanks

          2. Thanks for all the interesting and informative replies! I guess this really is a complex issue.

            1. I actually trust my Whole Foods guys in Pasadena. They will be first to tell me what's fresh, what's frozen (If it's not marked on the signs). They've steered me to what's fresh that day before, or what was better than something else. Most seem well-trained. Although I know it differs from store to store.

              1. the common impression is that most seafood in los angeles is imported ... and it's easy to see why--most of hte stuff at the supermarket and even at big fish markets is flown in from portland, seattle and boston (not that that's necessarily a bad thing). i find the best place to buy fish is at japanese markets like Mitsuwa and Marukai. that's where you find the stuff that really is local to southern california--sardines, calamari, mackerel, rockfish, rex sole (not usually sanddabs, though they're nearly identical).

                the concerns about what has happened to the ocean are very well-founded, but it is easy to develop a "no-fish" perspective if you don't dig too deep. the truth is that the ddt spill off pv (spill? hell, they had a sewer line pumping the stuff straight out), is particularly bad for top-of-the-food chain fish (they eat other fish, concentrating the toxin), fish that aren't very mobile (if fish are moving from place to place, they are exposed to different environments), and fish that are very fatty (ddt tends to concentrate in fat). there is no way i would eat, for example, white croaker, which fits all three of those criteria. but there is nothing better than sardines, which might have been caught in exactly the same area.

                1. to ciaolette, order canned wild tuna & salmon from garabaldi's pride, oregon at
                  www.bayoceanseafood.com.

                  1. A few things that are in season as well as available locally...Wild striped bass -- Santa Monica Seafood as well as many Asian markets will carry it; also, it's Santa Barbara Spot Prawn season and they're available right now at any fresh fish market as well as many of the seafood markets at your local Farmers Market. Delicious grilled on the bbq. Bon appetit!

                    1. You can always trust Dan, the mgr of the meat/seafood dept at Vicente Foods.