Canada's local fish and seafood

Enjoying fresh, local fish and seafood from across Canada is easy when you have smart tips and advice for reeling in the best catch at your nearest market.

By Steve Biggs

How to buy; markets in the East

The smell of open water, a forest of boat masts, a web of mooring ropes, the silhouette of a bird on a pole, kaleidoscopic piles of netting, and the wail of sea birds all lead toward the destination: pails of crabs skittering atop one another; sacks of fresh mussels; glimmering, silvery-scaled fish; jellylike squid; and glistening orange, pink, and white fish fillets.

Fresh fish and seafood can be a sensory delight! Nourish your connection with local food by savouring locally caught fish and seafood -- and meeting the people involved in the harvest.

See food, try food
Seafood is edible saltwater fish and shellfish, while freshwater fishes come from inland lakes and rivers.

Not sure what to do once you have it? Get started with recipes and cooking information from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the federal government's Freshwater Fish Corporation.

Fish freshness check
How can you tell if fish is fresh? It smells, well, less fishy! Also look for:
• slightly bulging, bright eyes
• stiff fins
• firm, slightly springy flesh
• faintly slimy skin
• gills, when opened, are red or dark pink
• mild smell

From coast to coast
Eastern Canada

The catch on the East Coast includes well-known species such as:
• cod
• haddock
• herring
• mackerel
• tuna
• shellfish

Here are some ways to enjoy Canada's local fish and seafood:
Pick the best-looking lobster for supper at the Halls Harbour lobster pound in Nova Scotia, a facility that holds up to 65,000 pounds of lobster for shipment abroad and also prepares meals for those wanting to dine on site while taking in the smell of the sea, the scenic fishing village, and the amazing Fundy tides.

Immerse yourself in the history of the cod fishery at Lelièvre, Lelièvre et Lemoignan in the Gaspé Peninsula by learning how cod is caught, processed, then dried on traditional outdoor flakes. See wood smoke dancing up from the roof, then, once inside Le Fumoir D'Antan -- and engulfed in the smoky smell -- learn about the history of smoked herring in the Magdalen Islands.

Celebrate seafood at the P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival, taking in mussels, clams, and oysters; culinary demonstrations; a chowder competition; and help for first-time oyster tasters.

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