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Along the coast of California, half the population of starry flounder is right-eyed and the other half is left-eyed. Also known as the California flounder, they spawn near river mouths and sloughs. Juveniles are found only in estuaries, and while adults can be found in ocean waters 1,200 feet deep, they are estuary-dependent for reproduction. Much like chameleons and other species, they can change coloration to blend in with their surroundings, making them practically invisible to avoid predators. Yet they succumb to the appetites of marine mammals such as sea lions and seals. They feed primarily on zooplankton, small fish and crustaceans, amphipods, and copepods.
They are abundant in California's central coast area, mostly due to the many rivers, sloughs, and estuaries, such as the Santa Ynez River and Elkhorn Slough.
Lifespan: Up to 42 years
Size: Up to 3 feet and 11 lbs
Distribution: Found on soft bottoms up to 1,230 feet deep
How fished: Trawling and longline
Why sustainable: Starry flounder biomass has been increasing since 1997. This species is not in high demand commercially and therefore fishing pressure is low.
MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative
NOAA FishWatch Rating: Not overfished
Nutrition (per 100g): Calories 91, Total Fat 1.19 g, Cholesterol 48mg, Omega-3 0.2g, Selenium 32.7mcg, Sodium 81mg, Protein 18.84g
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