Other Names: Dabs
Sustainable Fishing Methods: Hand Operated Pole and Line, Scottish Seine
Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice
Biological Information: The Pacific Sanddab is a left eye bottom dwelling flatfish with a special adaptation for camouflage. They bury themselves in the sand until only their eyes protrude and are capable of quickly changing their color and pattern to blend into their surroundings. This ability to camouflage allows them to hide from predators as well as ambush their prey. Sand Dabs have an elongated, oval body with brown to tan coloration littered with brown spots and a white to pale brown underside. Sand Dabs are mature and ready to spawn at around 2 years old and can live to be 10-13 years old. Their diet of shellfish, squid and octopus gives them a sweet and flakey texture with a buttery flavor that has made them a local delicacy and one of California’s better kept secrets.
Sustainability: Landings of Pacific Sand Dabs in California have been constant and stable, indicating that the populations are not being heavily affected. By using a Hand Operated Pole and Line, fishermen are able to be selective about the size and species that they are catching. They are able to throw back non-targeted species and retain Sand Dabs that meet the correct size requirements. Scottish Seines also work well on the seafloor by minimizing habitat disturbance.