The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the nation's richest sources of bountiful, sustainable and high-quality seafood.
Santa Barbara's harbor has over 100 small-boat fishermen who catch 6-10 million pounds of seafood annually, bringing in $30 million in economic benefit to the local community.
Our fishermen bring in wild-caught white sea bass, black cod, ling cod, yellowtail, rockfishes, halibut, swordfish, tuna, king salmon, thresher shark, urchin, crab, shrimp, lobster, whelk, sea cucumber - more than 50species in total!
The best way to get local seafood is direct from the source at the Saturday Fishermen's Market in the Harbor.
Fun Facts about Santa Barbara seafood
- Spiny Lobster: Lacking claws, spiny lobsters have firm, sweet meat revered across Asia - 75% of the catch is shipped there live. Season: October - March
- Spot Prawns: Ours are considered the sweetest-tasting prawn on the West Coast. Larger than ridgeback shrimp, they have distinctive spots along their head. Hand-picked in traps and sought after by fine dining restaurants around the globe, they can be hard to come by. Season: March - October, some incidental catch in the winter
- Ridgeback Shrimp: Actually a prawn - distinguished by the sharp spine on its back - that is smaller, more readily available than spot prawn. Very sweet and tender, their overall fragility prevents them from being shipped fresh. Season: October - June
- Rock Crab: California fishermen harvest three distinct species of rock crab - all cousins of the Dungeness - red, yellow, and brown. The red come from the deepest waters and have the sweetest meat. Buy them live from the boat at the Saturday Fishermen's Market. Season: Year-round
- Sea Urchin: The Santa Barbara Channel boasts the best urchins in the world. A quarter of the catch is exported to Asia, where urchin is considered a delicacy, but it is also found on local menus and throughout the US. Pale orange, with a taste both sweet and briny, eating urchin roe is like a bite of the ocean. Season: Year-round
- About 25 species are harvested by our port in high volumes (greater than 20 thousand pounds per year on average) with over 100 species in total.