A cold-water fish with a warm heart
Opah are beautiful fish about the size of a car tire, also known as moonfish. Averaging around 100 pounds and 3 feet long when they land at the docks, these fish are silver with pink scales, white spots, red mouths and fins, and large, gold-rimmed eyes.
Opah are the first fish discovered to have a warm heart, meaning they can circulate heated blood throughout their body. This physiological adaptation is linked to a culinary distinction – creating one fish with many types of meat. Opah have seven distinct cuts that range from sashimi-quality top loin to dark, lean flanks that could pass for beef or pork.
Catalina Offshore’s Tommy Gomes breaks down a whole opah
Meet the Fishmonger: Tommy Gomes
Tommy Gomes is a fifth-generation commercial fishermen who was raised working alongside his father, uncles and cousins in San Diego’s historic tuna fleets. Hired by Catalina Offshore in 2003 as a fish filleter, he evolved into the company’s trusted fishmonger and public face. Today he is a beloved fixture in the local food community, recognized across the country as a sustainable seafood advocate and leading voice in seafood education. His pioneering approach to Pacific opah opened a culinary market for several edible parts of the fish that are typically discarded. This has played a key role in Catalina Offshore’s work with NOAA fisheries in broadening the appeal of opah, reducing waste and increasing the value of San Diego fisheries.
Opah Cutting Guide