When it comes to our fish, we've grown quite conscious of keeping things sustainable. One of the best ways to keep our consumption environmentally friendly is to buy local -- for seafood, that means buying the fresh catch at the nearest fish market.
Studies show that when we buy local, we keep the availability of fresh, higher valued seafood up, we keep local fishermen in business, and we foster a relationship with the people who sell us our seafood -- when you know who caught your fish, you can ask questions as you peruse the pickings.
Here, we've rounded up five seafood markets along the coast where you can see what you're getting first-hand:
1. San Pedro Wholesale Fish Markets
Every Saturday morning, the early bird gets the best catch. The San Pedro Fish Market along Signal Place starts between 2 and 3 a.m., selling fish to the public until about 7:30 a.m. You can find whole tuna and salmon for $3 per pound, or sardines and mackerel for a steal at $1 per pound. Don't forget a cooler for your haul, or your cash -- your cards are no good here.
San Pedro Wholesale Fish Markets, located along the docks on Signal Place and 22nd Street. Open to the public every Saturday from 3 a.m.
2. Dory Fleet Fish Market
On weekdays, the Newport Beach dock is quiet. But when the weekend fish market -- home to just-caught rock crab, spider crab, sea urchin, and lobster, among other seafood -- revs up, nearly 100 people can be found milling about, searching for the best catch. And often, it's a steal. Browsing the market, you'll find crab for only $2 per pound, and fish for between $6 and $10 per pound.
Dory Fleet Fish Market. 110 Mcfadden Place. Newport Beach, CA. Saturday and Sunday, 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
3. Andria's Seafood Fish Market
Andria's fish market in Ventura is open seven days a week, and sells a wide variety of seafood. The halibut, sea bass, and angel shark are locally caught, but you can also find salmon, snapper, and jumbo shrimp from further afield. At $19.99 and $18.99 per pound respectively, the halibut and sea bass aren't cheap. But the angel shark is a fair price at $8.99. If you're headed to the harbor, don't expect to see a host of fishermen selling their haul -- head inside Andria's and you'll find the latest catch set up and waiting for you to check out.
Andria's Seafood Fish Market Sunday - Tuesday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Wednesday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. 1449 Spinnaker Dr. Ventura, CA.
4. Santa Barbara Fisherman's Market
Stop by the Santa Barbara Fisherman's Market for fresh fish, crab, urchin, and lobster right off the fishing boats. The market is open Saturday mornings, from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. If you can't make the early trek to the dock-side market, you can always stop by the Santa Barbara Fish Market, which is also on the harbor and open seven days a week, for fresh fare. There, you can snag a dozen blue point oysters for $12 -- if you call ahead, they'll shuck them for you. And if you join the seafood club, you'll get a 10 percent discounts on all your purchases.
Santa Barbara Fisherman's Market. 117 Harbor Way. Santa Barbara, CA. Open 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.
5. Catalina Offshore Products
Catalina Offshore Products is a bit of a San Diego gem. The fish market boasts the famous uni that won Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern's praise. Here you'll find sushi-grade fish like hamachi kama (yellowtail collar) for $5.25 each. Scallops are $23.95 per pound and chocolate clams are $2.50 each. Currently in season are wild king salmon, yellowfin tuna, white sea bass, snapper, and Mexican white shrimp, among others. The whole yellowtail is a bargain at $26 and includes the belly. Most of the market's seafood is sourced from Southern and Baja California waters.
Catalina Offshore Products. 5202 Lovelock Street. San Diego, CA. Open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.