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 and their habit of using their pectoral fins to swim rather than their tail 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.
Shop opah cuts at Catalina Offshore Products
Catalina Offshore’s Tommy Gomes breaks down a whole opah
Meet the Fishmonger: Tommy Gomes
A native San Diegan whose Portuguese family settled in San Diego in 1892, Tommy Gomes is a fifth-generation commercial fishermen who was raised working alongside his father, uncles and cousins in the city’s historic tuna fleets. Following his retirement from commercial fishing, he was hired by Catalina Offshore Products in 2003 as a fish cutter. Over the next 15 years he evolved into the company’s trusted fishmonger and public face. Today he is known as Tommy the Fishmonger® and is recognized as a culinary coach and outspoken advocate for local and sustainable seafood, promoting responsible fishing practices and the consumption of underutilized species and parts. 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.
Tommy’s opah recipes