5 Places to Catch Yourself a Sustainable Fish

Hang up that "Gone Fishin'" sign and take a trip to these locales known for their abundant catch.

With butchering classes now de rigeur and the farm-to-table movement so firmly entrenched in restaurants all over the U.S., many joke that the next step can only be harvesting and slaughtering our own meals. We can all agree that's pretty far-fetched, but if the idea truly grabs you, fishing is probably the most accessible way to fill your fridge sustainably.

Call it sea-to-table, and although commercial fishing has wreaked havoc on the world's fish supply, pole-caught and hand-harvested seafood, especially the fish we have deemed the most sustainable, is still one of the most eco-friendly ways to forage for your dinner. Read on for five places to go fishing, sustainably.


Pacific Halibut – Homer and Seward, Alaska

Called “Alaska’s Halibut Capital, Homer is the best way to access the fish-rich waters of the Kachemak Bay, where an hour or so boat ride will get you into prime halibut territory. Seward is another good jumping off point. Leave your rod at home -- fishing charters like Crackerjack Sport Fishing will fully equip you.

Season: May-September


Black Cod/Sable Fish – Coos Bay and North Bend, Ore.

Black cod fishing is not for beginners, but luckily cod season is also halibut season, so a deep-sea fishing trip off the Oregon coast also guarantees an encounter with halibut as well as sea trout and perhaps even tuna. Check out the local charters and guides on FishingCoosBay.com.

Season: May-October


Oysters – Charleston, South Carolina

Recreational oyster harvesting is highly regulated from state to state, not only because of overfishing but also as a way to protect the public against diseases in shellfish like vibrosis. Before heading to one of the designated public beds, you’ll need a Saltwater Fishing License, but once that’s out of the way, wait for low tide, grab a bucket and dig.

Season: October-May


Albacore Tuna – Santa Cruz, Calif.

Plentiful up and down the coast of California where they swim in the warm currents, albacore is especially bountiful off the coast of Santa Cruz. Fisherman usually only have to go about 5-10 miles offshore, and right now, during El Nino, is the best time to catch 90-pounders, according to Game and Fish magazine. Book a trip with Stagnaro Sport Fishing and Charters.

Season: Year-round; peak in May


Clams – Bar Harbor, Maine

Just like oysters, shellfish is extremely regulated, but clamming for steamers (soft shell clams) is a huge pastime in Maine. After getting a license (only $10 for one day), get a rake, some heavy gloves and a bucket and head to the open harvest areas. In Bar Harbor, the areas near Thomas Bay, Clark Cove and Indian Point are totally green-lit.

Season: May-August (red tides usually begin in late summer, early fall)

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You can also find some very good deals for an Alaska fishing trip at http://www.alaskafishingdeals.com. They have some great prices to some really good Alaska fishing lodges.


We have more sustainable fish species in Louisiana than all five of those put together. No problems with the oil spill, either. (Not one single piece of oil-contaminated Louisiana seafood has ever turned up in any restauran or store.)

The best shrimp, oysters, crabs, redfish, speckled trout, yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, pompano, lemonfish, sea bream . . . and I'm just getting started.

Tastefully yours,
Tom Fitzmorris

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