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Blue Water Fish - Secret #6 - Pricing

Blue Water Fish - Secret #6 - Pricing

Striped Bass

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was created on July 1, 1970. The DEC combines all New York State programs designed to protect and enhance the environment into a single agency. Governor Nelson Rockefeller created the DEC on the first Earth Day in 1970. One of their functions is to conserve and protect New York’s natural resources, which include various species of fish. In order not to let species become extinct, the DEC regulates how many fish can be caught. For example, local Long Island fishermen get a fixed number of tags for striped bass. Once those tags have been used up, they cannot get any more until the next season. Seafood markets on Long Island are subject to random inspections and have to keep the head of the fish with the DEC tag on it until all of the fillet is sold.

While these regulations help keep species from becoming extinct, they also make certain varieties of fish more scarce and therefore more expensive. Non-local fish is more plentiful, but much less desirable.

Fish markets purchase whole fish by weight. They buy the entire fish. Then they take off the head, clean and gut the fish.  What’s left is the fillet which is less than half of the whole fish. For example, a 30-inch striped bass weighs 12 pounds. It could sell for $8.00 to $10.00 per pound whole, which includes the head and bones. That translates into $96.00 to $120.00 for a single striped bass and yields about 4 pounds of fillet. A price tag of $24.00 to $30.00 per pound for the fillet would just allow the fish market to break even. That’s not a sustainable business model. It doesn’t even include the labor involved in transporting, cleaning, and gutting the fish. This is one reason prices for some varieties of fresh fish can seem so expensive.