In the 70's and 80's the popularity of Paul Prudhomme's blackened redfish dish almost wiped out the native red drum from the coastal waters of Texas and Louisiana. It was so popular that redfish, formally known as red drum, was listed as a protected species and during this time commercial sell was outlawed. These restrictions have since eased due to the resurgence of red drum stocks, but it was aquaculture that really emerged as a winning solution to the tasty fish's high demand. During the same time of the wild redfish restrictions, biologist David Maus built the first commercial redfish farm in Palacios, TX. Today Palacios is the home of Copper Shoals, a leader in domestic, sustainable red drum aquaculture.
Copper Shoals grows fish from fingerlings to market size without the use of hormones or antibiotics. The feed comprises of natural grains, vitamins, minerals, and fish protein from well-managed sources. There is also the added plus that Copper Shoals produces fish free of mercury and other pollutants. The farms are land based, which reduces the problem of escapees. Water for the fish is provided by Matagorda Bay and saline aquifiers and is monitored around the clock to ensure that quality is never compromised. The fish are fresh killed, chilled and sent out to order. This means that our red drum are delivered to us just hours out of the water.
It's always good to support local fishermen and farmers, especially ones that produce a quality product with an environmental consciousness. The farmed red drum in Texas come with a sweet, mild flavor and a dense, flaky texture. They are deliciously healthy and incredibly savory, especially when prepared by Pearl Dive Restaurant, where they are a staple on the menu.