Fresh Catch of the Day
How to buy fish right off the docks in Newport
The only thing better than cooking fish that you caught yourself is selecting seafood right off the docks from the fishermen who just caught it. Newport fishermen bring in a variety of fresh fish daily, and luckily for us, they offer it for sale directly to the public. These suggestions will have you buying fish straight from the source like a seasoned local!
Salmon, lingcod, halibut, Dungeness crab, rockfish and limited catches of albacore tuna will still be available through the end of September. You’ll find fresh fish off the docks in Newport’s Historic Bayfront, usually on Port Docks 3, 5 or 7, and from specific boats in the South Beach Marina. The fishing boat Chelsea Rose is a common vendor, and can often be found down on the docks. When you go down to the docks, look for signs that advertise fish for sale.
When you go to the docks to buy fish, make sure that you bring a cooler filled with ice to store your fish for transport. Also bring some money with you, as many fisherman only accept cash payment. The minimum amount that you can buy is one fish, so plan to freeze or share portions that you won’t be eating right away. For a small fee, most fishermen will clean the fish for you or refer you to someone nearby who will. Unless you have experience filleting fish, take advantage of fish cleaning service so that you get the most meat possible with little waste.
Fish sold off the docks is almost certain to be of the highest quality to ensure repeat business for the fishermen, but here are some qualities that you will want to look for to make sure that your fish is the freshest selection. Fish should have clear eyes, and should not have dents or gouges. If the fish was frozen out on the boat, make sure that it is straight and flat, not bent or curved. Albacore tuna should have pink gills, and salmon should be shiny without patches of lost scales. Tuna is almost always kept in the boat’s hold, while salmon are usually already gutted.
Ask the fisherman when the trip was started and if he has an idea of when your fish was caught. Select the size of fish depending on the amount of meat that you want from it, and don’t hesitate to select one fish over another if the size is in the range you want. Fish is sold by the pound, and by law, the price per pound will be posted. Tell the fisherman how many portions you are looking for from the fish, and he will usually help you select one.
Crabs should be purchased and cooked live, but they may have been kept at low temperatures to keep them docile and slow moving. So, as long as the crabs are alive and moving they are alright to buy and take home. Avoid crabs that have algal growths on their shells.
Buying fish off the docks is a great bargain for both fisherman and consumer. The fisherman gets a better price than they can from a processor, and you get the freshest fish at a better price than you would at the store.
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