FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL

We’re strategically situated between San Diego’s local waterfront and Baja California. This enables us to provide you with a variety of wild caught and farmed seafood from the Pacific West Coast, the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula and the Gulf of California. Our ever-evolving bounty of fresh and frozen seafood includes tuna, opah, swordfish, grouper, yellowtail, halibut, snapper, sea bass, rockfish, sea urchin, shrimp, spot prawns, spiny lobster, abalone, oysters and more!

More than three billion people depend on seafood as their primary source of protein. Wild-capture seafood harvests have leveled off and cannot meet the growing seafood demand alone. This demand for healthy fish as well as sustainable practices has resulted in numerous delicious, environmentally responsible farmed seafood choices. Among the ones we carry are Mt. Cook Alpine salmon, Baja abalone  and oysters. Each product page specifies if a product is wild or farmed.

The faster you freeze your food the better the quality. When food is frozen slowly, ice crystals form. Big ice crystals typically dry out the food and impact the overall taste and flavor. 

Proton freezing is a newer quick-freeze technology that combines evenly distributed electromagnetic waves and cold air to reduce ice crystal formation and cell membrane damage. As a result, taste and texture are preserved naturally, without any additives or chemicals. 

IQF, or individually quick frozen, is a common freezing method in the foodservice industry and consists of freezing individual pieces of food separately from the other pieces at extremely low temperatures. IQF is also referred to as flash freezing, quick freeze, or super freeze.

We are located in the famed coastal town of San Diego, CA, otherwise known as America’s Finest City! 

Yes! In addition to our online store, we have a walk-in fish market: 

  • Located at 5202 Lovelock Street, San Diego, CA, 92110. 
  • Our market is open to the public from 8AM to 5PM Tuesday through Friday and 8AM to 3PM Saturday and Sunday. 
  • Any temporary changes to our operating hours due to holidays or other factors are typically posted on our social media pages and/or door signage. 

ONLINE ORDERING & SHIPPING INFO

Shipping Information:

We ship within the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. We do not ship to Puerto Rico, nor do we ship internationally.

We ship Priority Next Day. Seafood is shipped in insulated packaging with ice packs and/or dry ice to withstand 24-48 hours in transit (depending on the final destination). For additional details, please refer to our Shipping Information here

Unlike other online seafood retailers, we provide our customers with a competitive flat rate that does not increase based on weight. For additional details, please refer to our Shipping Information here

Yes. Orders over $200 shipping to California get free shipping. Orders over $300 shipping elsewhere in the U.S. get free shipping. For additional details, please refer to our Shipping Information here

You may select a delivery date four days out from when your order is placed, excluding blackout dates (Sundays, Mondays, and holidays). If you are unable to select a preferred delivery date at check out, it is for one of three reasons:

  • it is outside of the four-day window; 
  • it is a Sunday, Monday or holiday; 
  • or your zip code does not qualify for Saturday delivery.

Saturday delivery may be arranged for an additional charge, although some zip codes do not accept Saturday delivery. For additional details, please refer to our Shipping Information here

Your seafood arrives in insulated packaging with gel ice packs and/or dry ice to withstand 24-48 hours in transit (depending on the final destination). Handle dry ice with care and avoid direct contact with skin. Feel free to reuse the gel packs! Dry ice is not permitted if shipping to Hawaii. 

You do not have to be home for delivery and signature is not required unless you require it. We do not assume responsibility for failed delivery attempts due to a lack of signature or lack of special instructions. For example, if you live in a gated apartment building and packages must be left in a designated area, it is your responsibility to include notes on your order.

Due to ongoing operational issues related to COVID-19, some FedEx services have been suspended or may be interrupted. Such interruptions may impact delivery times, prevent second delivery attempts, or result in denied claims. 

We pack your seafood with gel ice packs and/or dry ice to withstand 24-48 hours in transit but recommend transferring products to your refrigerator or freezer as soon as they arrive to maintain optimal quality. If you live in a hotter climate, we advise planning a delivery date when you know you will home or can get home shortly after tracking indicates your shipment has been delivered.

Occasionally the plastic containers we use to pack vana or fish eggs (tobiko, masago, etc.) crack during transit. Because these products are frozen and shipped in a chilled, insulated packaging, their quality should not be compromised, and these items should still be safe to consume. 

Online Ordering Info:

We require a $50 minimum purchase for online orders. Unlike many online competitors, we do not require quantity minimums on individual items.

You may check out as a guest and do not need to set up an account. However, creating an account will help you check out faster in the future.

Our cut-off time to place an order for next day delivery is 11AM PST.

It depends on availability of product and whether your original order has already been processed in our system. To request a modification to your order, please contact our online ordering department at help@catalinaop.com or (619) 704-3616. 

Once your order has been shipped, you should receive an email with tracking info for your order. If you feel you placed your order successfully but did not receive tracking, please contact our online ordering department at help@catalinaop.com or (619) 704-3616.

If for any reason you are dissatisfied with the quality of a fresh seafood item, please contact us within 48 hours of delivery to request a refund.

Refunds on frozen items or dry goods may be requested within 30 days of delivery except for Proton Frozen tuna, which may only be refunded within 7 days of delivery.

We do our best to address order issues within the next business day but due to the volume of inquiries we receive, please allow up to 48 hours for a response. Be advised that our offices are closed on weekends.

To expedite the process, please include photos and/or video to support any complaint related to products and/or packaging issues to help us confirm the nature of the complaint and whether a refund (full or partial) may be issued.

Although we ship priority to arrive next day, there may be weather events or transit delays that are out of our control. For this reason, we ship our fresh and frozen products in insulated packaging with gel ice and/or dry ice to withstand 24-48 hours in transit (depending on the final destination).

Sometimes products that were purchased frozen do not arrive solidly frozen. If they are cold to the touch, slightly thawed sealed portions may be safely refrozen and consumed with no noticeable loss of quality or nutritional value.

Requests for refunds on delayed shipments that are delivered within 48 hours will be considered on a case by case basis.
FedEx and Catalina Offshore assume no liability for loss, damage, delay, misdelivery or nondelivery due to causes beyond either party’s reasonable control (aka “Acts of God”).

Please contact our online ordering department at help@catalinaop.com. To expedite a resolution, be sure to include your order number, complaint details, and applicable photos.

We’re always open to suggestions for new products and happy to answer questions about out-of-stock or previously cataloged products! Feel free to contact us at help@catalinaop.com

Occasionally, you will find one or more of our seafood selections out of stock. This can be due to several factors including seasonal availability, weather conditions which can greatly impact availability, and/or demand exceeding supply.

Of course! When you check out, update the shipping address with your recipient’s address.

Not sure what type of fish they like? A Catalina Offshore Products Gift Card makes the perfect gift for your seafoodie! Simply choose a dollar amount, add your message, and the Gift Card will be emailed directly to your recipient for easy ordering anytime.

GENERAL SEAFOOD TIPS

Once your order arrives, open and inspect your seafood. Look carefully for smaller items wrapped inside packaging materials, or that may have slipped between gel packs or dividers. Contents should be cool to the touch. 

Fresh fish should be placed in the refrigerator. If you do not intend to use the fish within a day or two, you can freeze your fish for later use. Live shellfish and crustaceans should be placed on a baking tray or bowl, covered with a damp cloth and placed in your refrigerator.

A good rule of thumb when cooking in a pan or on the grill is to cook fish for 10 minutes per one inch of thickness. That’s about 4-5 minutes on one side and 4-5 on the other. 

For sushi grade tuna, we recommend cooking about 1-2 minutes per side to keep a beautiful rare to medium-rare red center. 

We ship our live products alive, but do not guarantee they will be alive upon delivery. If a live urchin perishes during transit, its uni is still completely fresh and perfectly safe to consume same day. 

Spot prawns will also be fresh and safe for raw consumption same day. Once spot prawns are no longer alive, they begin to lose their ideal texture. If you are not able to consume your spot prawns the same day you receive them, we recommend boiling or pan searing them for later use. Be sure to cool first before storing in the refrigerator.

Should your lobster appear to have perished in transit, we advise you to cook it the same day you receive it. To tell the difference between a dead lobster or one that is sluggish after being shipped, gently touch the lobster’s eye, and see if it moves. If your lobster is alive upon delivery, we recommend consuming it same day; however, it may keep in the refrigerator for one more day. Place on a baking tray and cover with a damp cloth. 

We ship our frozen products in insulated packaging with gel ice and/or dry ice to withstand a 48-hour transit. Sometimes products that were purchased frozen do not arrive solidly frozen. If they are cold to the touch, slightly thawed sealed portions may be safely refrozen with no perceptible loss of quality or nutritional value. 

Fresh, perishable products should be refrigerated or frozen upon receipt. When stored properly in the refrigerator, fresh fish should be cooked within two days from date of purchase.

With exception of our Proton frozen tuna, most of our frozen items may be stored in the coldest part of a traditional freezer for up to 6 months without sacrificing quality. Certain species, like tuna, naturally turn brown once exposed to air or if stored in a traditional freezer. Proton freezing technology slows this process but does not prevent it. 

The safest way to defrost your frozen fish is overnight in the refrigerator. 

Alternatively, you can thaw it by removing from any packaging and placing it in a plastic bag in a large bowl of water that’s cooler than room temperature. Use a smaller bowl or a weighted plate to keep it submerged so that all parts defrost at the same rate. Using this method, most fish will thaw within 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels before cooking or serving raw (if sushi grade). 

Once fully thawed, do not refreeze. Consume within 1-2 days of defrosting.

Please don’t use a microwave to defrost fish! Microwaving alters the texture of fish and shellfish and may partially cook it, further affecting its quality and flavor.

SUSHI, SASHIMI & RAW SHELLFISH

“Sushi grade” or “sashimi-grade” are common terms used to identify seafood considered “safe to consume raw.” Because there is no official, regulated standard for these terms, it’s important that you purchase sushi grade seafood from a trusted seafood source such as Catalina Offshore Products.

Generally, any wild fish except tuna—bigeye, yellowfin, bluefin, etc—should be frozen for specific periods of time at specific temperatures to destroy parasites. Some farmed fish should also be frozen before consuming raw. 

There are exceptions, including our farmed Mt. Cook SAIKOU Alpine Salmon, which is raised in parasite-free glacier water. Our fresh or frozen products that are safe to be consumed raw are specified as “sushi grade” on product pages. 

Shellfish, including spot prawns and oysters, do not need to be frozen to be enjoyed raw. However, the FDA cautions that consuming any raw or undercooked seafood or shellfish may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions.

Tuna naturally turns brown when exposed to air (unless it has been gas-treated). To maintain its best color and texture, we recommend the following: 

  1. Grab a large bowl, salt, plastic food wrap and cheesecloth or kitchen paper (you may substitute paper towel, but it may stick to product).
  2. Fill bowl with lukewarm water and add salt at a rate of 2 teaspoons per liter of water. Remove tuna from any packaging and gently rinse with cold water then immerse in saltwater solution for 3-5 minutes, depending on size.
  3. Remove from saltwater and gently rinse with cold water. Gently remove excess moisture by wrapping tuna in cheesecloth or kitchen paper and then in plastic food wrap. 
  4. Use care to ensure the product is not wrapped too tightly as it is necessary to allow the product to “breathe” to achieve appropriate color. Plastic food wrap should not come in direct contact with the product. Refrigerate 3-5 hours, depending on size.
  5. Once tuna is fully thawed do not refreeze. Consume within 1-2 days of defrosting.