Ever noticed how Gulf Coast seafood markets offer a surprising lack of variety? From Brownsville to Naples, seafood stores focus on shrimp, crab, oysters, speckled trout, pompano, wahoo, snapper, grouper, tuna, and a few other core species. Rarely does an outlet offer a diverse selection of fish–despite the fact that the Gulf of Mexico has a plethora of edible fish species. Why? In part because of consumer demand; certain fish are more popular, due in part to tradition or to a “tasty” reputation, while others are discarded or disparaged as “trash” fish. Frequently, less popular Gulf Coast species are often in high demand (and thus bring higher prices) on the East Coast, so those fishes end up in markets in Atlanta or New York (especially things like orange roughy and hake).
Houston’s Louisiana Foods Total Catch Market is working to change the perception of lesser-known Gulf fishes. Each Saturday, the market offers up under-utilitized species, by-catch from methods targeting other species, and, as the website proclaims, “anything else that tastes good and should be eaten more.” The linked blog lists the offerings, complete with scientific names and the fishing vessel’s name.
It’s a great concept–eat what’s tasty, relieve pressure on over-fished species, and recognize fishermen who land the catch.