Cod, Black | CUESA

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Cod, Black

Cod is a common name for a family group of demersal fish, named for the ocean’s demersal zone at the bottom of the ocean, where such fish live and eat. There are many species that go by the name “cod”—all united by their habitation of the demersal zone and the low content of fish oil in their flesh.

Like tilapia, cod has a mild flavor. Black cod (sablefish) is a prized delicacy, with a slightly higher fat content and a more buttery taste than Pacific (Alaskan) cod. Both varieties can be baked, broiled, fried, or grilled. Black cod can also be used in sushi.

The sustainability of cod fishing varies greatly by region and species. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch rates Pacific cod as a “best choice” when caught in the U.S. Pacific by bottom longline, trap, or hook-and-line methods; a “good alternative” when caught by trawl method; and a fish to avoid when caught in the wild and imported from outside U.S.-controlled waters.

Black cod is only found in the North Pacific, and when sourced from Alaska and British Columbia, it is highly sustainable. The trawl method used in fisheries along California, Oregon, and Washington causes environmental degradation and results in excessive bycatch of other local species. Talk to the fishmonger to make sure you know the origin of the fish and catch method.

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About CUESA

CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs. Learn More »