Find out where the fish was harvested (and when it's in season).
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Where is the fish harvested? "This is a question that a good fishmonger needs to be able to answer, and it speaks to the level of experience of the people you're dealing with, and their integrity," says Cimarusti. "Take, for example, striped bass. During summer months, there could be more than one state legally open for striped bass – Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia – and you should want to know where it's coming from." In restaurants, you'll see that they often list specific farms for their produce. "To me, with a protein like a piece of striped bass, which is the center of the plate, it's not beyond reasonable expectation to know where it comes from," he says. Another good seafood product to use in this example is diver scallops, which should never be served before December 1st, though it's sometimes to be found on menus before then. "It's not possible to serve those [earlier] unless they're harvested illegally, or they're frozen, in which case that affects the taste and freshness, as well as cost," he says, advising people to check state fishery websites, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website. "I use that resource a lot," he says. "But I'd also just use Google to see what's in season."