need a live salmon in NYC- hivemind, help!
April 11, 2007 10:48 AM   Subscribe

fishfilter: buying live salmon in new york?

I am looking for a place within driving distance of NYC where I can buy live salmon for cooking.

alternatively? any way to have a live salmon shipped to ny- alive?
posted by Izzmeister to Grab Bag (16 answers total)
Maybe this is a stupid question, but why does the salmon have to be alive? You aren't going to eat it alive are you?
posted by frieze at 11:00 AM on April 11, 2007

The obvious and best place to buy live fish in NYC is Chinatown. On the other hand, I've NEVER seen live salmon for sale anywhere; they seem too big to be shipped alive.
posted by agent99 at 11:04 AM on April 11, 2007

the freshest, freshest fish you're going to find in nyc is at the fulton fish market (unclear if they'd sell to individuals) . And i'm pretty sure even they don't sell live fish. Think of the logistics of shipping fish back from wherever they're caught live. You'd have to add millions of pounds in weight for water and the like. Not to mention feeding them or something.
posted by jourman2 at 11:07 AM on April 11, 2007

Response by poster: if I didn't need the salmon alive, I know where to buy salmon :)

it needs to be alive, because many jews have a tradition, that on passover, to eat fish they have seen alive- and while I can buy trout and carp I would really like salmon next passover.

on the other hand, I assumed that say in seattle, it would be easy since you could (i believe) catch one and then if I see it alive in seattle I could have it frozed and then shipped- is that a possibility?

how much water would a salmon need to stay alive during shipping for one day or two?

thanks, hivemind :)
posted by Izzmeister at 11:16 AM on April 11, 2007

Best answer: Here there be sall-mons: It's a longshot, but you could try asking here. There's a yearly salmon festival (It may not be until July-ish though), and you never know, perhaps someone will ship one to you somehow, or know how to.
posted by cashman at 11:17 AM on April 11, 2007

Best answer: Salmon are big, and feisty. I can't imagine where you'd find a live wild salmon available for purchase. Commecially caught wild salmon are put on ice on the boat, and arrive at the dock dead.

Here in San Francisco, you can get charter fishing boats that take folks out for salmon fishing (the season just opened!). Might the NY area have such a thing? You'd have to talk to the captain about getting your fish home alive. Or you can head to wherever the dayboats come in and buy one off of one of them - the fish was alive until a few hours ago, so would that work?

There are salmon farms in Maine (there might be some nearer to NYC, but I don't know for sure), and you could call one to see if they'd sell you a live fish, which are kept in net pens in the ocean/bay. The bit of Maine nearest to NYC is probably a 4-ish hour drive (been a while since I've done that), one way. You'll have to find some way of keeping the salmon alive on the way home, of course. Keep in mind that farmed salmon ain't as tasty as wild, and may have been fed lots of antibiotics and whatnot.

On preview: one (additional) problem you might run into next year is that the opening of salmon season may not start until after Passover. If wild salmon is what you want, you might be out of luck. If Passover starts after the season begins, though, you could fly to San Francisco and get a "party boat" (see this article from the Chron two days ago) and hope to catch one yourself.
posted by rtha at 11:26 AM on April 11, 2007

Best answer: rtha just posted many of my comments. The good news is that the season for pacific salmon will likely open in March 2008.

What you may not have considered is that, unlike trout and carp (both farmed freshwater fish), most wild pacific salmon are caught commercially in the ocean and keeping them alive is a bit trickier. I'll reiterate from above that most fishing boats keep their catch on ice until they return to shore to sell their catch.

Your other option is farmed Atlantic salmon (a completely different genus from pacific salmon and people will argue endlessly about the taste difference, health of farmed fish, etc.) which you are much more likely to be able to buy yourself on the East Coast. Unless of course you are partial to catching your own.
posted by rosebengal at 11:42 AM on April 11, 2007

Best answer: It was hinted at above, but just in case it's not clear: a trout is about a foot long, a carp is a foot or two. Salmon will be 3-4' long. Anything trout-sized will be too young to catch.

At least you didn't want tuna for pesach!
posted by mendel at 11:50 AM on April 11, 2007

Best answer: fulton fish market (unclear if they'd sell to individuals)

Last time I shopped there it was a $50 minimum.

a trout is about a foot long

Trout that go saltwater and live in the ocean are called steelheads and they are a lot like salmon, eating-wise.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:41 PM on April 11, 2007

Response by poster: I need to see them alive- if I see them alive in maine and pack them for shipping in ice they can be dead in maine :)
posted by Izzmeister at 5:40 PM on April 11, 2007

Best answer: I'm sure it is possible to ship a live salmon to NYC. Biologists are currently in the planning stages for a program to capture adult salmon at the bottom of the lowest unpassable (to fish) dam on the Columbia River and release them upstream of said dams so that they can spawn there. This involves what is essentially a tanker truck.

In other words, it surely is possible, but it would be stupidly expensive. To be practical you'll have to kill it when it leaves the water (either the Pacific Ocean or a farm pen in the Atlantic).
posted by ssg at 5:41 PM on April 11, 2007

Not feasible. You would have to catch it in a non-damaging way and drive it to the city in a truck with a live well and chiller/ aerator. Ocean run salmon are actually very delicate and don't handle being caught or touched very well. They die after losing a very small number of scales or if they water has low oxygen or gets above a fairly low temperature. Depending on where you caught it you'd have to move it in a saltwater tank too which is a whole nother kettle of worms.

The Columbia River situation is kind of different. Those salmon are freshwater spawning fish and spawning salmon will keep swimming upriver till they literally fall apart from rot, long after you would want to eat them. Also the salmon would essentially swim into a barge which will be chilled and aerated and trucked up the river quickly. A lot of them will likely die in the process AND it's going ot be super expensive.
posted by fshgrl at 6:47 PM on April 11, 2007

If you're looking for a custom experiment, you can seal them in a plastic bag or a pvc tube with pure oxygen for some hours. You could keep one in a vertical tube with oxygen bubbling through it for days.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:10 PM on April 11, 2007

Best answer: Oh, BTW my brother is a salmon fisherman in Alaska, maybe I could hook you up.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:14 PM on April 11, 2007

Really, you just need to find someone who will sell you a live salmon, who owns a webcam. Then you can see it online.
posted by cashman at 6:09 AM on April 12, 2007

Best answer: thanks ye all. I have some ideas to work with...

next year in Jerusalem! (with salmon!)
posted by Izzmeister at 1:55 PM on April 12, 2007

« Older Anyone have any tips for reconnecting with an ex?   |   How do I make an audio delivery system? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.