Frequently Asked Questions
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, and much 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. Consumer demand for healthy fish AND sustainable practices has resulted in many delicious, environmentally responsible farmed seafood choices, including several selections we offer.
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 more recent 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:
- 5202 Lovelock Street, San Diego, CA, 92110
- Open Tuesday-Friday 10AM-5PM and Saturday and Sunday 10AM-3PM
- For changes to our operating hours due to holidays or other factors please refer to Google, Yelp, or our other social platforms.
ONLINE ORDERING & SHIPPING INFO
We ship within the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. We do not ship to Puerto Rico, nor do we ship internationally.
We ship overnight for next day delivery. 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 earn free shipping. Orders over $300 shipping elsewhere in the U.S. earn free shipping. For additional details, please refer to our Shipping Information here.
You may select a delivery date up to three days out from your order, excluding blackout dates (Sundays, Mondays, and holidays). If you are unable to select a preferred delivery date at check out, it is due to one of the following reasons:
- it is outside of the three-day window;
- it is a Sunday or Monday;
- it is a holiday or the day after a holiday;
- your zip code does not qualify for Saturday delivery.
Saturday delivery is an option for an additional charge; however, some zip codes do not allow for Saturday delivery. If your zip code falls into this category you will be notified with the option of canceling your order or choosing another delivery date. 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.
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 during transit a plastic container will crack or a vacuum seal will break. Because these products were shipped frozen and in chilled, insulated packaging, their quality should not be compromised they should still be safe to consume.
Upon delivery, if you notice a fish portion has a broken vacuum seal and the fish appears in good condition, we suggest eating it as soon as possible. Alternatively you can repackage it by wrapping it tightly in saran wrap and storing in your freezer until you’re ready to enjoy. Unfortunately, we cannot issue refunds for broken vacuum seals after 48 hours upon delivery. See our return policy in our FAQ.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the nature of the products we sell, we can’t accept returns or provide exchanges. Should you experience an issue with your order, we’ll do what we can to make it right with the following things in mind:
Upon delivery, it is your responsibility to check that all items were received. Be sure to look under all packing materials, including gel ice packs and smaller food items, to avoid accidentally discarding an item with your box. If something is missing from your order, please let us know within 48 hours of delivery.
Occasionally with frozen seafood items, the seal on a vacuum package comes undone during transit. Generally frozen seafood with a broken vacuum seal is still safe to consume. If you come across a broken seal, please let us know within 48 hours – preferably with photos – and we’ll help you assess the condition of the fish. Unfortunately, after 48 hours we can no longer consider a broken vacuum seal a valid reason for refund. To avoid a vacuum seal breaking while being stored in your home freezer, handle frozen seafood with care.
FRESH SEAFOOD: If for any reason you are dissatisfied with the quality of a FRESH seafood item, please contact us within 48 hours of delivery to be eligible for refund.
PROTON FROZEN TUNA: Any issue with our frozen wild or farmed bluefin loin or toro, or wild ahi, must be reported within 7 days of delivery to be eligible for refund. Tuna naturally turns brown once exposed to air or when stored in a traditional freezer. Proton freezing technology slows this process but does not prevent it. For best results, we recommend placing proton frozen tuna in the coldest part of your freezer and storing for no more than 7 days. (Find additional info in our FAQ under the “General” and “Sashimi, Sushi & Raw Shellfish” sections.)
ALL OTHER FROZEN SEAFOOD and DRY GOODS: If for any reason you are dissatisfied with the quality of a FROZEN seafood item (excluding the aforementioned frozen tuna) or dry good, please contact us within 30 days to be eligible for refund.
SHIPPING CONSIDERATIONS: Although we ship overnight for next day delivery, transit delays may occur that are out of our control. It is for this reason that 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 and shipped frozen do not arrive solidly frozen. As long as they feel 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 shipments that were delayed but delivered within 48 hours will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Orders delayed over 48 hours may be considered for reshipment or refund.
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 first review our return policy in our FAQ, then contact our online ordering department at email@example.com. To expedite resolution, include your order number, as many details as possible about your issue, and applicable photos or video.
We do our best to respond to emails within the same business day or by the next. We are not in the office on Saturday or Sunday, therefore any inquiries emailed over a weekend will be responded to on the following Monday.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 a digital Gift Card will be emailed directly to your recipient for easy ordering anytime.
GENERAL SEAFOOD TIPS
We ship our live products alive, but do not guarantee they will be alive upon delivery.
If a live urchin perishes during transit, it is still completely fresh and perfectly safe to enjoy within the same day.
Spot prawns that perish during transit will also be fresh and safe for raw consumption within the same day. However, 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 up to 48-hours transit. Sometimes products that were purchased frozen do not arrive solidly frozen. As long as they are cold to the touch, slightly thawed sealed portions may be safely refrozen with no perceptible loss of quality or nutritional value.
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.
Fresh products should be refrigerated or frozen upon receipt. When stored properly in the refrigerator, fresh fish may be cooked within two days from date of purchase. If you do not intend to eat your fresh fish within a day or two, we recommend freezing it.
Live shellfish should be consumed within 24 hours. In the meantime, store in your refrigerator on a baking tray or in a bowl covered with a damp cloth. (See our FAQ for more info on what to do if your live shellfish perishes during transit.)
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. For best results, Proton Frozen tuna should be placed in the coldest part of your freezer and stored for no more than 7 days.
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 for 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. To make it easy for you, our fresh or frozen products that are safe to be consumed raw are clearly specified as “sushi grade” and/or “sashimi 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:
- Grab a large bowl, salt, plastic food wrap and cheesecloth or kitchen paper (you may substitute paper towel, but it may stick to product).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once tuna is fully thawed do not refreeze. Consume within 1-2 days of defrosting.