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Schools of Rocks -  Monterey Fish Market

Rockfish 101

The genus Sebastes encompasses at least 110 species of rockfish, the majority of them living in the waters of the Northern Pacific,  many in MLPA's, or Marine Life Protection Areas. With many species having been over-fished, strict guidelines are in place to assure that efforts to enable the recovery of protected stocks are given every chance for success.

New Federal quota guidelines are verified through
mandatory observership:

    There is an observer monitoring catch on each fishing boat.
    Boat paths and locations are monitored with GPS.
    Strict penalties for catching protected species of rockfish are a real deterrent for fishing near their habitat; fishermen can lose their fishing rights as a result.
    Proven techniques for releasing live protected fish (pdf file) back to their original depths are mitigating incidental catch losses.

Chilipepper rockfish, sebastes goodei, mature and breed more quickly than other rockfish, and their populations have recovered as a result. Chili rocks live in the midwater column in large schools. We procure chili rocks when they are available from vessels that catch them using purse seines, hook and line, or midwater trawls, methods that have the least impact on environment.
Want to know more about rockfish, or better yet, close to everything about rockfish, and be delighted in the process?
Visit the website of Dr. Milton Love of  UC Santa Barbara, a world-class expert, who has written exhaustively on rockfish, including the title "Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast".

Easy Rockfish Tacos

Easy Rockfish Tacos

Mild-flavored and course-flaked, rockfish absorb the flavors of other ingredients well and braise beautifully. With garden harvests of great ingredients still ripening in this early fall glory, keeping it simple is a welcome antidote. 

Simple Rockfish Braise, serves four

  • 1 lb. rockfish fillet, with pin bones removed
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/2  white onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 serrano chili, finely minced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • juice of one lime
  • salt to taste

Layer the rock cod on the bottom of an oven-proof casserole, lightly salt and sprinkle with the lime juice and let stand for 10 minutes.

Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, serrano chili, olive oil and salt (lightly to taste). Cover the rockfish fillets with the simple salsa and braise in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Serve the flavorful moist chunks of rockfish and salsa with warm tortillas, some strips of roasted poblano chiles, avocado slices, a spot of Mexican cream, whatever makes your favorite taco,  and a side of rice to absorb the savory juices.

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