Massachusetts 2023: Wild Rock Quota Achieved – Alternative White Meat Fish Choices

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Last Friday, NOAA said Massachusetts’ 2023 wild rockfish quota was met. With the area now closed, finding wild rockfish will be extremely challenging.

There is very little production of wild rockfish in our local fishery here in the Chesapeake Bay currently. It’s a combination of factors; most fishermen are crabbing, and the pound netters have used most of their quota. Commercial hook and line fishermen generally double as charter boat captains. Right now, they are booked every day taking charters, so they are not commercial fishing. By late September, local production of rockfish should pick up again, sufficiently to supply the market.

What are some white meat fish options for the next 6 weeks?

Red Snapper: We have both Domestic and Caribbean reds on a weekly basis. The Caribbeans are a few dollars cheaper per pound on fillets.

Wild Halibut: The market shot up recently, but we do anticipate it coming back to reality soon.

Black Grouper: Major producing areas off Brazil are closed right now, so this is not a great choice. Domestic groupers are so expensive they will make your eyes water.

Bronzino: This is an excellent choice as it is farm-raised in the Mediterranean, and supply is excellent. We have all sizes from 400g to 1000g fish.

Icelandic Cod Loin: Supply is going to be tough for another two weeks. On September 1, their new annual quota starts, and we should be in the clear through the winter into next year.

Fluke: It is relatively expensive right now, but that price should be falling after Labor Day.
Chilean Sea Bass: If money is no object, then this is the fish for you.

Other non-white fish options include Swordfish. September and October are the two best months of the year to purchase swordfish. They are feeding up for their migration south to the Caribbean, and they are in the best shape of the year. There will be tons of Bluefin and Yellowfin tuna around all fall. Arctic Char is another option. There are plenty of wild salmon options also over the next six weeks.