Guide to the Fish List

Each week the Cambridge Food Co-op store sends members the fish list for the Fresh Fish Program. Though we try to make that list easy to read, there may be a few components that cause confusion for members. This quick blog article will hopefully help our members feel more informed about the fish they are purchasing.



Most items are sold by the pound

Unless otherwise noted (see possibilities below), most of the fish on the list is sold by the pound.


Some items are sold as a unit

Some items on the fish list are sold by weight, but come as a unit. Mussels are the most likely item to be seen this way, though other shellfish may be listed with a unit weight on occasion. You will note that mussels generally have a (5#) written after the name. This number signifies the amount of mussels, or other item, in a container. In this instance, the Co-op sells the item to the member as that specified unit of weight—you may also see (10#) on rare occasions. The store will not break apart that unit, customers must purchase the full amount listed.




Some items have a count listed

The count listed next to fish, usually clams and shrimp, describes approximately how many of that fish/shellfish are in a pound. For instance, shrimp (16-20 ct) means that there are anywhere between 16 and 20 individual shrimp to the pound being sold. It also indicates size, which is useful when cooking items like clams. A smaller count-to-pound ratio lets a customer know that the clams will be on the larger side, versus a larger count-to-pound ratio where the clams will be more numerous but smaller in size.



Tuna is graded.

Tuna, which is often eaten raw, is graded. This allows fish buyers to know which tuna is better for making foods like sushi. On the Co-op’s fish list, you’ll see this grade denoted beside the name of the fish.


When it comes to tuna, the grading system look like this: “Each tuna can earn one of four grades: #1 (highest), #2+, #2, and #3. While this grading is highly subjective… each fish is graded based on five indicators: initial appearance; size and shape; color; texture;

fat content” (luxgourmets.com) Most often the Co-op sells #2+ tuna, which can be eaten raw, though, of course, it’s quality is not as superb as #1 tuna.

For more info on tuna grading system: https://www.luxegourmets.com/chefs-column/tuna-grading-system.

Wild-caught or farm-raised?

Most of the fish on the list are wild-caught species. The store does try to list when a fish is farm-raised. The farm-raised fish on the list often come from Scottish or Icelandic fisheries, which, for the most part, have excellent sustainability practices in place (read more here).

Other things to note about the fish list:

  • the price indicated on the list is usually a price per pound. However, sometimes when items are sold in containers (example: whitefish salad or cans of crab) the price written is a price per each container.

  • For members wanting to know more about Seafoodwatch Sustainability ratings, please visit: www.seafoodwatch.org.



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