Seafood Handbook Shellfish Page

The Seafood Handbook is the most comprehensive seafood directory available online. Featuring more than 100 of the most common seafood species in the U.S. market, the Seafood Handbook is the ultimate guide to seafood sourcing and preparation, brought to you by the editors of SeaFood Business magazine. And it’s free!

Search by finfish or shellfish, or by geographic region. For each type of seafood species, there is a comprehensive overview of the item, its origin, history, availability, product attributes, nutritional value and cooking tips, along with an original hand-drawn depiction.

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The Dungeness crab reportedly takes its name from a small fishing village on the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington state. It’s also known as “San Francisco Crab,” since the species has been harvested off that city since 1848. Dungeness are commonly sold live, fresh or frozen as whole… Read More
These clams are rarely sold by the name “hardshell” or “quahog,” but instead are sold by names reflecting size (1 1/2 to 5 inches), from  littlenecks to cherrystones, topnecks and chowders. On the West Coast, Manila clams and Washington steamer clams are sometimes called littlenecks,… Read More
Spiny lobsters lack the large front claws of the American lobster and are prized instead for their tail meat, which accounts for 33 percent of the body weight. Some 30 species of spiny lobster are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. They are marketed in the United States as… Read More
Although there are more than 200 species of bivalve mollusks worldwide described as cockles, only a half dozen are harvested on a significant scale as seafood. Once used widely as bait, cockles are now found at high-end restaurants. Because the cockle has only recently shifted from bait to plate… Read More
There are several species of langostino, but the one most commonly marketed is Pleuroncodes monodon, a small, lobster-like crustacean found in the cold, deep waters off the coast of Chile, where it is known as langostino colorado. A related  langostino, P. planipes, also called tuna crab, ranges… Read More
Pacific white shrimp are among the most widely cultivated shrimp in the world. This is due mainly to ease of cultivation and rapid growth rate; harvesting begins after 120 days. The two warmwater species known as Pacific whites are Penaeus vanna­mei, found from Sonora, Mexico, to northern Peru,… Read More
Related to cuttlefish and squid, octopus are cephalopods, or “head-footed,” referring to the eight “legs” that sprout from their head. They also have a parrot-like beak for crushing prey such as abalone, crab and lobster. There are more than 140 species in temperate and tropical waters… Read More
Unlike most of the world, where the Pacific oyster has taken over the oyster grounds, America still has its native oyster, the same one that fed the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Today, two-thirds of the national oyster harvest is Eastern oysters. While Pacific oysters are mostly cultivated, Eastern… Read More
Surf clams are often the “fried clams” featured on menus across the country. This is the most important clam species, by volume, in the United States. Surf clams average 4 1/2 to 8 inches across. They’re taken by hydraulic dredges from sand or gravel habitats in depths of 10 to 300 feet. The… Read More
Blue tinges on dark shells and blue patches on the legs give the crab its name. Males have blue claws; females’ claws are orange-tipped. Blue crabs average 4 to 6 inches across. In the domestic fishery, male crabs (“Jimmies”) and immature females (“Sallies”) may be taken as hardshells… Read More