How to Order Fresh Fish From the Source

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Commercial shippers deliver fish and seafood directly from the docks to the local retailer’s or market’s fish counter or seafood department, which may include a display case for raw fish and shellfish. The fish or seafood is typically displayed with names of the species printed on green tape attached to each item; these are usually short for common names such as “catfish,” “shrimp,” or “halibut. In most cases, the fish is displayed on a wooden, metal, or plastic rack that is about 18 inches long, 15 inches wide, and just over 1 inch tall. Most commercial shippers also adhere to the environmental practice of freezing fish ‘on ice’ immediately upon landing.

Many retailers, both large and small in size, are using human-to-the-door delivery services to serve customers who request fresh seafood delivered to their location. The customer can place an order over the phone or online and pick up the seafood once a seafood preparation specialist has prepared it. Fish and seafood can be prepared to order in many different ways, including broiling, grilling, sautéing, poaching, or steaming.

Some retailers have a seafood department run by a seafood department manager and a full-time staff who specialize in selling and preparing fresh fish and seafood. These specialists are often trained as fishmongers, who are responsible for the selection, storage, and preparation of products that are sold at the fish counter.

For fresh whole fish online, there is a reasonable amount of information that can be obtained from breeders and fisheries management authorities, including information regarding several quality traits such as the species’ age and size (freshwater or saltwater). Learning about the out-of-season availability of fish species is also possible by checking with local sources such as fish wholesalers, farmers’ markets, or community-supported fishery programs.