Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Saltwater Fish Species of the Pacific USA

Pacific Halibut
Pacific halibut are the largest flatfish in the ocean. They can weigh up to 500 -700 pounds and can grow up to 9 feet long. They are among the most popular North American fish. Pacific halibut are common along the Northwest coast of the the USA and Canada. Halibut prefer rocky bottoms where they ambush food. Their diet consists of cod, pollock, herring, octopus, crabs, shrimp and other prey.

Halibut with mango salsa on brown rice

Pacific halibut is very popular among seafood lovers and is low in saturated fat and sodium, as well as a source of vitamins B6, B12, magnesium and potassium. The meat is white, mild and flakey. It's thickness lends itself to a variety of recipes including grilling, baking and broiling.
The Pacific Northwest is home to 2 species of sole. Sole are smaller flatfish that are related to halibut. Dover sole and English sole are bottom dwellers that feed on small fish, amphipods, molluscs, crustaceans and other ocean life.
In addition to being sought after by recreational anglers, the fish are caught commercially by trawling and marketed as filet of sole. Both species make up a large portion of the commercial flatfish harvest in the Pacific Northwest.
There are six species of Pacific salmon - chum, coho, king (chinook), pink, sockeye and steelhead - and all are wild. Salmon grow in the ocean, and spawn in the rivers. The fish spawn only once and die afterward. Salmon eventually migrate to sea, then return to their stream of birth to spawn.
Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids which is well known as having health benefits. Studies have shown that smoked salmon has a very low level of mercury, unlike some other seafood.
Lingcod have a large head, large mouth, and large teeth. The fish have a long, elongate body which narrows towards the tail, the back having one long dorsal fin. Lingcod are usually dark gray, brown or a greenish color on the back with mottling or spotting along the back. Lingcod can reach up to 5 feet in length.
Lingcod is an important commercial catch in Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska. The fish are also sought after by recreational anglers because of its aggressive behavior, size and excellent table value.
Pacific Cod
Pacific cod are similar to Atlantic cod although generally smaller. Pacific cod are an important commercial food species. Local names include gray cod, gray wolf or grayfish. Pacific cod are found in the Bering Strait, along the Aleutian Islands and along Washington, Oregon and part of California.
Black Cod
Black cod is another Pacific fish. Also known as sable fish, these distinctive fish have dark skin and pearly white flesh. Seafood lovers describe the fish as having a smooth texture and rich taste, due to its high oil content. The fish is low in calories and a source of protein and other nutrients. Black Cod can contain up to 50% more Omega-3 Oil than salmon.
Alaska Pollock
Alaska pollock can grow to more than 20 pounds, although most of the fish landed in the commercial fishery weigh less than three pounds. Alaska pollock are caught in huge numbers by factory ships, with Alaska pollock making up roughly 40% of the U.S. total commercial catch. Also known as Pacific pollock, the fish are members of the cod family.
Pollock has lean, white flesh that becomes opaque when cooked. Most of the commercial harvest goes into fish sticks, fish portions for fish sandwiches and for Surimi products.
The author maintains seafood related websites including Fresh-Seafood, Commercial Fishing and Chesapeake Bay News.