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.

Explore Shellfish by searching here:

The North American snow crab fishery targets three species: Chionoecetes opilio, C. bairdi and C. tanneri. Technically, opilios are snow crabs, and bairdis are tanners. Alaska’s opilio fishery occurs in the Bering Sea and is much larger than its bairdi fishery. Bairdi are taken in the Bering Sea… Read More
A variety of shrimp similar to Pacific or Gulf whites, Chinese whites are harvested from farm ponds and wild-caught by trawlers, mainly in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea and along the Korean coast. Chinese whites can grow to more than 7 inches. The most commonly used name for these shrimp is… Read More
This species supports the largest scallop fishery in the world. Sea scallops are dredged year-round from Labrador to New Jersey. Since sea scallops die out of water, they are always shucked at sea and kept on ice, if not frozen aboard. The meat counts range from 20 to 40 per pound. New Bedford,… 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
Spanner crab is a newcomer to the U.S. market, exported from northeastern Australia for the white-tablecloth-dining market. Because of its limited and recent distribution in this country, the crab does not yet appear on the USDA Fish List. Though Australian supplies dominate the domestic market,… Read More
The largest of the commercially harvested crabs, king crabs are characterized by spiny shells and long, spidery legs. Most crabs have 10 appendages, but king crabs have six walking legs, one large “killer” claw and one small “feeder” claw. The best meat is the merus, which comes from the… 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
Unlike the native Eastern oyster, the Pacific oyster is a Japanese transplant, brought to this country after the turn of the century to revitalize the West Coast oyster industry after its native Olympia species (Ostrea lurida) crashed. Hearty and easy to propagate, the Pacific oyster is now the… Read More
Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans that resemble miniature lobsters, ranging in size from 3 1/2 to 7 inches. Over 400 species are found worldwide, 250 of which are in North America, living in rivers, lakes, swamps, canals, wetlands and irrigation ditches. The most important farmed U.S. species is… Read More
The geoduck (pronounced “gooey duck”) is the largest burrowing clam in the world and one of the longest-lived animals, sometimes living more than 100 years. Its name reportedly comes from the Nisqually Indian term “gwe-duk,” which means “dig deep.” The Chinese call it “elephant trunk… Read More