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A Quick Guide To Purchasing Fresh And Sustainable Seafood


A local market’s seafood has a lot of labels, making it difficult to determine which fish species have been sourced ethically and are fresh.

Responsibly purchasing sustainable favorites like salmon and crab from wholesale distributors ensures the produce is procured legally and guarantees freshness and quality.

crab wholesale distributor
Fresh swimming crabs and other seafood on ice. Wholesale market

Wholesale seafood distributors like Pucci Foods honestly sell items as per government regulations, so your customers can maneuver the fish counter like a pro.  

Here’s a guide that’ll help your customers understand the basic terminologies on packaging labels when purchasing safe, fresh, and quality seafood that’s sustainably caught:  

1. Wild

Live, wild seafood is caught in open waters. They have a natural diet, which makes them highly wholesome and nutrient dense. A healthy and ethical option is fish obtained from well-managed distributors using non-destructive and selective fishing methods by local fisheries and communities.

Unfortunately, unreported, or illegal fishing is to blame for the fall in wild fish populations and the deterioration of their habitat. For instance, wild Atlantic Salmon have been eradicated due to overfishing.

Additionally, the FDA recommends that adults and children avoid eating wild fish like Orange Roughy, Shark, and King Mackerel as they contain very high levels of mercury that are harmful to health.

Select US-caught fish species to ensure the supply of good quality and sustainably sourced wild seafood. The US is a world leader in seafood sustainability. Selecting from sustainable US fisheries helps maintain the health of species we all enjoy.

You might alternatively purchase fish that has been ethically farmed to reduce the burden on wild fisheries.

2. Farmed

Farmed seafood is grown and collected in enclosures on land or in the ocean. Sustainable fish farming, also known as aquaculture, can feed more people while using less freshwater, energy, and land than terrestrial farming. Additionally, compared to livestock production, fish farming emits far fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

However, mismanaged farms add to pollution, lead to escapes, and cause environmental degradation.

Wholesale distributors that follow sustainable business practices prioritize the nature of fish procurement in their branding materials. Look for labels like Best Aquaculture Practices Certified, MSC Certified Sustainable, Farmed Responsibly ASC Certified, etc.

Pucci Foods takes pride in producing healthy seafood in a way that is both ethical and ecological. Ask us about the sustainability of our farmed products.

3. Fresh

Fish served fresh has never been frozen between the point of capture or harvest and the selling location. Fishermen may place it on ice to prevent it from going stale. Identifying fresh seafood includes the following:

  • The smell is specific to its origin and is pleasant
  • The eyes of fresh fish are bulging and shiny
  • The gills, skin, and fins of fresh fish are moist
  • Clear and odorless slime is equally distributed over the fish
  • The body is firm
  • The belly is shiny and undamaged

Never equate fresh fish with the highest standard. Your fish may have been out of the ocean for a few weeks and might be labeled as “previously frozen,” indicating the produce was thawed and then displayed.

Asking where the fish originated from, how far it traveled, and how long it had been sitting in the store will help you determine how fresh the fish is.

Anything with the phrase “refreshed product” the product has been defrosted and refrozen by the store. This lowers the quality of the fish but makes it more affordable.

Wholesale distributors like Pucci Foods are particular about maintaining the freshness of our seafood, selling only the best quality products in the Bay area.

4. Frozen

Taking on from the previous point, not all frozen seafood earns a bad rep. Today’s finest seafood is frequently frozen shortly after being picked. This method, known as “flash freezing,” employs extremely low temperatures to freeze whole fish to a solid state instantly.

A safer and fresher product is produced by killing any bacteria or parasites and preserving the fish at its peak freshness.

Well-preserved flash-frozen seafood seals in all the nutrients and protects the protein and fat structures so that when the fish reaches your pan, the texture, flavor, and nutritional value is similar to freshly caught fish.

When distributed correctly, consuming frozen fish can significantly lower waste and waste-related carbon emissions, making it a sustainable way to consume out-of-season varieties.  

Please share this blog with your patrons, helping them understand their purchases better and feel assured of the origins and freshness of our produce. Responsible buying contributes to the sustainability of our oceans.

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