Why is Seafood So Expensive?

I had dinner last night with a friend at a local seafood restaurant chain.  Trout was $17 and Mahi Mahi was $20.  There were lots of other meals on the menu that were even more expensive–between $25 and $40.  Dinner came with bread, salad, rice, a vegetable, and of course, the grilled fish. 

I know lobster is expensive but didn’t think that trout and other fish could cost so much.  With an appetiser and two sodas, dinner (with tip) came to about $66.  Yikes!

Of course this got me thinking about why fish is so expensive–especially in an area like LA that is right next to the Pacific Ocean. 

In addition to the abundance of fish in the area, it seems like it would be less effort to catch fish than to raise livestock like cattle, or other animals.  

I wonder what restaurants really pay for the fish?  I wonder how much of a profit margin there is in seafood?  I know of a restaurant by the beach that charges the same prices and serves their meals on paper plates.  Outrageous!

I’m too tired to go into much detail tonight so I’ll just tell you what I think.   We’ve all been conditioned to believe that fish is somewhat of a rare commodity.  Because of this, and the fact that it’s good for us, we are willing to pay more.  It’s just a hunch, but I would guess that seafood restaurants make more profit than steak, Italian, Chinese, or Mexican restaurants.  Am I totally out to lunch?  Let me know what you think.

BTW, the fish was really good!

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2 Responses

  1. fish is pricey because it is the last protein source that is still hunted. fish farming has done alot to secure supply and lower prices, but for the most part, fish is not made in a factory. also, it comes from all corners of the earth. in some cases farther than you can fathom. that adds to cost. lastly, it needs to travel fast and cold. it is also very delicate. unlike grain and other commodities, which can be stored for long periods of time and shipped slowly, fish spoils quickly.
    seafood is often the least profitable item on the menu, because it is expensive to begin with. if you want to make money in a restaurant, you push pasta and booze.

  2. I got some shrimp today from the supermarket, and while eating it I was wondering the same exact thing hehe. Dragonfly, great follow up on this…..you definitely summed it up well and about the pasta thing that is sooo true haha.

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