Identification & Biology: Sea Urchins are bottom feeding “echinoderms”. The most common urchin processed are the Strongylocentrotus franciscanus which range from dark blackish purple to red in color. They are covered with short to long spines. The diameter of the shell can get up to 6 inches. The average weight of a sea urchin is one pound. California Sea Urchins are found off the coast usually in about 50 feet of water in kelp beds.
Range & Habitat: Sea Urchings are found in every ocean around the world.
Market Description: Sea Urchins are harvested for their internal roe — “uni” in Japanese — that is considered an aphrodisiac in some cultures. Uni is known as a delicacy in Japan and sushi bars worldwide because of its sweet flavor and succulent texture that melts in your mouth. The exact technique of processing uni is a trade secret that has been perfected over the last 20 years by Catalina Offshore Products. In fact, the business started with owner Dave Rudie diving for sea urchins & seaweed. Sushi bars from across the country know that the best uni comes from Southern California, and Catalina Offshore Products. We keep our product in coolers that are maintained at 32 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit until it is packed and shipped daily. We pack in insulated containers with gel-ice for the best quality. Wooden trays house the strips of uni for a traditional Japanese presentation.
Buying Tips: The gold and premium grades of uni are always fresh, and the vana is frozen unless otherwise requested to be fresh. All uni tastes good and can be eaten raw.
California Gold: Bright yellow/orange, firm texture (formerly A-Grade)
California Premium: Mild yellow color, softer pieces (formerly B-Grade)
Vana: Dark color, melting soft, also known as Vana (formerly C-Grade)
Our fresh and live seafood products are as fresh as you can get because we purchase directly from reputable fishermen in California and Baja California who take great pride in providing the highest quality seafood. The seafood is caught and immediately iced or brought to our live tanks until you order.