Sustainability is nothing without traceability
Our story is nothing without the inspiring people below - their boats rich in history and their lives filled with epic fish tales. Join us at an event and you’re bound to run into one of them. Introduce yourself and be prepared to hear about the “80 pound halibut” or the “time a shark bit into a crab trap.” You won’t be disappointed!
Our Partner Fishing Vessels and Divers
Below is an ever expanding list of the amazing people and boats that we work with - not everyone is on the list yet since some of our partner fishermen are a bit camera shy, but keep checking back in and referencing the label on your order to see where your fish came from!
F/V Silver Fin
Rock Crab | CA Halibut | King Salmon | Lingcod
If you've ordered Rock Crab from us, then you can thank Captain Jason Chin. Based out of Santa Cruz, Jason primarily catches Pacific Rock Crab, but you may have also seen his name on a delivery of Monterey Bay King Salmon, Lingcod, Ca Halibut or White Seabass.
Jason is an avid fisherman that has been fishing and foraging for years - his motivation and drive to promote under appreciated fisheries inspires us to continue to promote his catch!
King Salmon | Dungeness Crab
Captain Scott Edson recently acquired the F/V Genesis, but he has been fishing full time with his family for Dungeness Crab, King Salmon, and Lingcod for years. You may remember his name from last season while he was operating the F/V Sculpin - a much smaller boat that we were lucky enough to receive all of our Salmon from.
We usually follow the Genesis wherever he’s catching, so that could mean Moss Landing, Ft. Bragg, or anywhere in between!
If you are a local and have bought seafood at Pillar Point before, then you are sure to remember the F/V Cricket! This boat belonged to Capt. Bill and Penny for over two decades before it was sold to Devin in 2015. Devin is the Captain of the F/V Crickett, and we met him because he is the brother to Jake on the F/V Sadie K. One day we didn’t have enough crab, and Jake told us not to worry, that his brother would have us covered. It was a nice surprise to find out that his brother was docked at the neighboring slip!
You can meet them at the docks in Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay where they are usually selling crab directly off the boat during the season.
F/V Miss Moriah
Rockfish | Petrale Sole | Sanddabs | Ling Cod | Black Cod | Arrowtooth Flounder
Capt. Geoff Bettencourt and the F/V Miss Moriah are one of a very select handful of boats that are a part of the California Groundfish Collective. This means that their every move is recorded by multiple cameras set up by the Nature Conservancy to ensure sustainablity and have a way to validate their accountability at sea. The Miss Moriah has been fishing for black cod, until recently switching gear to focus on rockfish and flatfish like petrale and different types of sole. This is one of the most closely monitored and regulated fisheries in the world and is the only ground fish fishery recognized by Seafood Watch as a Best Choice.
Almost all of the ground fish that we offer is from Miss Moriah aside from our ground fish burger blend which is primarily sourced from the F/V Pioneer (see his story to the right)
King Salmon | Lingcod
Captain Scott Edson primarily fishes off of his new boat, the F/V Genesis, but you may see some King Salmon or Lingcod coming off of the Sculpin during the summer.
We used to see a lot of fish off of this vessel, and we are hoping that Scott will find a new owner that can catch superior fish that are handled with the utmost care.
Stay tuned for updates on the F/V Sculpin and its new owner.
Rockfish | Petrale Sole | Sanddabs | Arrowtooth Flounder
Capt. Giuseppe “Joe” Pennisi started fishing in California when he was seven years old. Beginning his career working on his father’s boats, he has made a career fishing everywhere from Monterey to the Bering Sea. In 2000 he purchased his boat the F/V Pioneer.
The F/V Pioneer has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to modify and enhance their trawling gear. This is has culminated in the development of Pioneer’s “light touch” trawl gear. By modifying the weight and size of their nets, this trawl gear barely touches the seafloor. The E.D.F estimates that these modifications reduce bottom contact by about 95 percent. Despite the sustainable modifications, Joe's catch still falls under Seafood Watch's "Good Alternative" ranking because his fishing method had yet to be assessed by SFW; however, we consider his fish to be a great choice when looking for sustainable. local, and responsibly sourced seafood.
F/V Mya Nicole
Captain Erik and the Mya Nicole are responsible for bringing us our beloved Anchovies - better known as fries with eyes!
Erik has been fascinated by the sea and fishing from a young age. As a child he would set bait traps using cat food from a local pet store, and then sell those traps to the bait shops. Growing up he noticed that some of the most successful boat owners were coming from the bait dock, and he knew where he wanted to be working. Erik worked for a year for free to learn the trade before getting paid for working full time on the boats.
Now, aged 31, he owns the bait dock and is increasingly delightfully surprised by the growing number of restaurants and consumers that are willing to eat lower on the food chain and turn something that's often considered bait, into a sophisticated beautifully plated dish - or simply into fries with eyes!
Albacore | Black Cod | King Salmon | Dungeness Crab
We don't currently source F/V Princess fish for our subscription members; however, we are able to accommodate large orders with our restaurant partners.
The Princess is a beauty of a boat that is captained by an amazing team of women fishing for Salmon and Albacore from Ft. Bragg up to Alaska.
They have an amazing high quality FAS (frozen at sea) system on the boat which is capable of freezing whole salmon in less than an hour. Weather and fish depending, an FAS salmon trip can last anywhere from two to eighteen days, the average being twelve days at sea and eight for a tuna trip. In their own words... "The end is usually when we run out of chocolate.... oh, and diesel."
F/V Pale Horse
Although we haven’t offered much from the Pale Horse, we plan on working with this amazing boat a lot more this year. If you were lucky enough to join in on one of our spot prawn deliveries, then you can thank the hard working crew on the F/V Pale Horse. Like live urchin, we usually only offer live spot prawns for pick up instead of delivery.
These are all caught using traps - an extremely sustainable fishing method that has minimal by-catch.
Seafood Watch considered these to be a Best Choice.
F/V Sadie K
Black Cod | Dungeness Crab
Capt. Jake and the F/V Sadie K is one of the first boats that we purchased seafood from as FreshCatch. His story is pretty awesome.
Jake has dedicated his life to seafood and he was a full time marine biologist before he took up commercial fishing. Now that he’s on the front lines, he is taking accountability into his own hands. Jake spearheads the Lost Gear Recovery group out of Half Moon Bay, retrieving lost fishing gear before it has a chance to entangle whales or add to pollution in our seas. He fishes using crab pots and black cod traps in the waters just West of Montara and hand selected each one with care for each of our members to make sure they all looked perfect!
Live Sea Urchin
John free dives for these delicious treats while his dog, Rocket keeps an eye on the boat. You can find John and Rocket during the summer months at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay where he occasionally sells his urchin directly to eager seafood lovers! In addition to live sea urchin, we also source seaweed from John.
We try to consistently offer his urchin for pick up, but John has family in Europe and is often overseas, so jump at the opportunity to enjoy one of these special treats when you see them available.
Wild Foraged Fresh Seaweed
Ian free dives and hand harvests a variety of local seaweed along the coast in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. Originally from Hawaii, his respect for the ocean and his motivation to keep it clean has allowed him to have a job doing something he loves.
Ian harvests seaweed for many different markets, some being fresh, some being dried, and some even being partially processed.
His fresh seaweed is sold to people like us that are able to find people to pick it up within hours of it being harvested - from there you can make a delicious salad, pickle some for later, or dry it out to last as long as you need! His dried seaweeds are sold to people like us as well, but the primary market is for restaurants and businesses that need consistent seaweed and know how to rehydrate it with perfection! Finally his processed seaweed is minimally processed into a liquid seaweed plant nutrient for use in organic gardening!
Our Aquaculture Partners
Aquaculture (fresh water farming - McFarland Springs Trout) and mariculture (ocean farming - shellfish) is something that we have spent a lot of time and energy researching in order to find an appropriate solution for weeks when weather isn’t on our side. Why do we feel the need to offer farmed seafood?
99% of all shellfish is farmed. 100% of shellfish farms benefit the water that they are raised in due to the fact that shellfish are filter feeders. There is no avoiding farmed shellfish.
We work with one fin fish aquaculture company based out of Susanville, CA at the base of the Sierras. The reason we chose this farm, McFarland Springs Trout Farm, is because they are the only aquaculture facility in the world to use absolutely no fish meal or fish byproducts in their feed. Its a truly inspirational company and we encourage you to give it a try when you see it offered.
The Abalone companies we work with work closely with a hatchery program to ensure that wild populations aren’t affected by their operation. In addition, all of the feed for the farms consist of hand harvested local seaweed from the shoreline.
American Abalone Farms
Since the collapse & closure of the commercial abalone fishery in California during the 1990’s (due to over harvesting), abalone aquaculture has been the only responsible and sustainable way to commercially consume abalone. American Abalone Farms is a family run facility that has been growing California Red Abalone within the pristine waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary for over 25 years. Their facility is located on the beach in Davenport, California, and is open to the public on Saturday's and Sunday's - we highly recommend you visit! They raise their abalone in an environment that mimics their natural home - seawater pumps continuously supply clean, fresh seawater to abalone tanks directly from the ocean only a few yards away. They are fed a 100% organic diet consisting of a variety of fresh local seaweeds that the workers hand harvest themselves.
With the help of abalone farms like this one we reduce the strain we put on our natural populations so they can begin to rebuild and flourish. These abalone are considered a Best Choice by the Monterey Seafood Watch Program and we offer them to members already shucked, tenderized, and packaged as whole steaks!
McFarland Springs Trout
The owners of McFarland springs trout farm in Susanville, CA set out to do the impossible - create a sustainable aquaculture system that would use 0% fish byproduct. The beautiful rainbow trout are raised in water raceways powered by a naturally heavy flowing stream. In addition to providing pristine water from the Sierras to raise these amazing fish, the stream running through McFarland Springs also generates all of the electricity to run the operation! How's that for sustainable?!
McFarland Springs Trout are fed a red-algae based feed that uses 0% fish feed, 0% hormones, and 0% antibiotics. This means a few things:
There are absolutely no natural fish stocks that are harmed to raise these trout
There are no traces of heavy metals or mercury in the trout
The runoff water from the farm is actually beneficial rather than harmful for the land.
Tomales Bay Oyster Company
Established in 1909, Tomales Bay Oyster Company, California’s oldest continuously run shellfish farm. Their Marin Miyagi oysters are famous around the world and the perfect way to end any day here in the Bay Area. The history of the farm is as rich as the oysters they produce.
It begins with a mass die off of shellfish in San Francisco Bay during the 1880’s prompting the United States Fish Commission (USFC) to research oyster cultivation. Assigned to studies at Morgan Oyster Company’s San Mateo beds, researcher Charles Townsend published a paper suggesting a number of mariculture improvements including the introduction of Pacific or Japanese oysters into Bay Area ecology. In 1928, although originally overlooked, Townsend’s report prompted California Department of Fish and Game to partner with Tomales Bay Oyster Company (TBOC) and introduce the Pacific Oyster, a variety from Japan, to Tomales Bay. In 1935, following several years of trial and error, TBOC produced an exceptional; the Pacific oyster grew in popularity and became the West Coast standard.
Oscar Johannson, hired by Tomales Bay Oyster Company’s parent company in 1926, managed growing operations at the Tomales beds, eventually, he gained ownership of the farming side of the company. He continued to cultivate the tidelands with his son until 1988. He sold the company and retired a few weeks before marrying on his eightieth Birthday. To date, Tomales Bay Oyster Company is the longest continually operating oyster farm in the State of California.
Monterey Abalone Farm: Whelks!
The whelks and abalone that we receive from Monterey Abalone Company are some of the best in the world. Their custom cultivation system uses cages suspended in the ocean water column from beneath the Commercial Wharf in Monterey Bay to produce virtually natural abalone habitats.
The configuration of the wharf benefits the farm by shading the abalone growing under it. It also provides superior access to the abalone, electricity to power lighting and equipment, and protection for the farm's workers from the elements.
Prior to the arrival of the Monterey Abalone Company the area below the wharf had never been utilized. Now it is an innovative, successful, environmentally-sound work space that generates a number of jobs in a stimulating marine environment while producing some of the finest abalone for resorts, restaurants and individuals across the United States.
Taylor Shellfish Farms
In 1890, the Taylor family began farming the Olympia Oyster in the Puget Sound of Washington. Since then the family business has grown to inspirational levels, employing over 500 dedicated staff that work hard to bring the best shellfish that the Puget Sound has to offer.
We occasionally offer clams, mussels, oysters, geoduck, and whatever they are willing to send us when weather is too rough for fishing and the water conditions aren’t perfect for harvesting local shellfish.
You can count on seeing their delicious shellfish at least a few times during the winter… chowder anyone?!