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About Fish and Shellfish

Types of Fish (Flat Fish & Round Fish), Types of Shellfish (Crustaceans & Mollusks), Buying Tips

Fish and Shellfish are Excellent Low-Fat Diet

If you're looking for nutrition and variety, fish and shellfish are excellent choices, especially for a low-fat diet. While all fish are not created equal, most types of fish are low in fat, cholesterol and calories and contain oodles of protein, vitamin B and omega-3 fatty acids. Crustaceans, such as lobster or shrimp, are good sources of calcium, iron and other minerals.

What are Fillets and Steaks?

The fish you see in stores may be farm-raised or wild and are often sold as fillets or steaks. Fillets are meaty, boned cuts of fish available with or without the skin. Steaks are pieces cut widthwise from the whole fish and most often include a central bone. Salmon, halibut and swordfish are the fish most commonly sold as steaks.

You should refrigerate fresh fish in the original wrapper and serve it within a day or two of purchase.


Flat Fish

Flat Fish - sole, halibut, flounder, fluke and plaice

  • Flat fish are thin, oval-shaped fish and have both eyes on top.

  • Examples of flat fish include sole, halibut, flounder, fluke and plaice.

  • Most flat fish have light-colored, mild-tasting flesh.

  • Each flat fish provides 4 fillets.

Round Fish

Round fish - rainbow trout, pickerel, bass, perch, red snapper and salmon

  • Round fish are fish that have a tube-shaped body. Round fish also have one eye on each side of the head.

  • Examples of round fish include rainbow trout, pickerel, bass, perch, red snapper and salmon.

  • The flavor and color of the flesh depends on the type of fish.

  • Each round fish provide 2 fillets.



Shellfish (Crustaceans) - shrimp, lobster, crab and crayfish

  • Crustaceans are a type of shellfish that have a segmented body with an outer shell, a tail, small legs and usually two claws.

  • Examples of crustaceans include shrimp, lobster, crab and crayfish.

  • Crustaceans usually have a heartier flavor and texture than fish.

  • Live crustaceans you purchase should move their claws when they are touched.


Shellfish (Mollusks) - snails, squid, clams, oysters and mussels

  • Mollusks are a type of shellfish that have a one of two-piece hard shell surrounding a soft body.

  • Examples of mollusks with a one-piece shell include snails and squid. Mollusks with a two-piece shell include clams, oysters and mussels.

  • Mollusks you purchase should be alive and have a closed shell. To test whether a mollusk with an open shell is alive, tap it gently. A live mollusk will close its shell when tapped.

Tips for Buying Fish & FAQ

Can I also purchase whole fish? What should I look for when buying fish?

Yes. You can purchase pan-dressed fish, which are whole fish that have had the innards, scales, head, tail and fins removed. Drawn fish are whole fish that have had the innards and scales removed, but have the head, tail and fins still attached. You can even purchase a whole fish just the way it comes from the water and remove the innards and scales yourself.

The fish flesh should be firm, with no browning or strong fishy odor.
Feel free to ask to smell the fish before purchasing. Check whole fish to make sure that the skin is shiny, the eyes are clear and slightly protruding and the gills are bright red and not slimy.

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