Celebrating Rockfish: A Sustainable Star of the Sea Returns

Editor's Note: This article was originally written by patient expert Ellen Haas.

The kickoff of the Rockfish (Striped Bass) season last week makes this a wonderful time to celebrate the delicious taste of this outstanding fish. Rockfish, also known as striped bass, is found in the waters near where I live in Washington DC. It is a favorite local fish from the Carolinas to Maine. One of the rites of spring all around the Chesapeake Bay is  the charter boats  setting out to the sea  because catch restrictions have been lifted and they can now lure in this star of the sea again.

The popularity of rockfish is well known because of the sweet taste of its meaty white flesh. But in the 1970s the fishing pressure mounted and Rockfish became over fished and the stocks were being threatened for the future. So in a major conservation act, a group of states halted rockfish (striped bass) fishing in the 80s to rebuild the stock. This also happened in the Mediterranean in Europe where the same problems were occurring. These measures have been successful and the current conservation regulations welcome the return of this delicious fish today.

When the season opened last Saturday, April 20th, fishermen in the Mid-Atlantic could go out and catch 1 rockfish that was 28 inches or larger a day until May 13 and then from May 16th to mid-December regulations limit the catch to 2 fish a day including some smaller ones. These rules are good for the environment and the sea and good for sustaining this popular fish on our table.

So now this spring we are fortunate to have an abundance of Rockfish (Basses) available. It comes both from the wild and it is farmed. Today, according to conservationists the rockfish are no longer on the endangered species list and the fish are listed as "rebuilt." That is something to celebrate as we enjoy the goodness of the fish.

Credit: Thinkstock

Not only is Rockfish a taste winner, but it is also a nutrition star. As with other fish, health experts recommend that we eat at least 2 servings of fish a week. Fish is high in protein and contains plenty of needed vitamins and minerals. Rockfish also contains polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acids that promote heart health. Though some contamination problems persist for seafood and better regulation is needed to protect against contamination, leading scientific experts at Harvard's School of Public Health have concluded that the health benefits of eating fish like Rockfish were strong and could be helpful in reducing the risk of death from coronary heart disease by 36%.

So I hope that you will join me in this celebration of spring and enjoy these tasty, good-for you dinners that are a star at Ellen's Healthy Table. Here are two of my favorite recipes that are always a hit: