It’s peak season for Sheepshead out of the Gulf – take advantage of this opportunity to show off a “locals only” species. Sheepshead aren't well known outside of the South/Southeast, so don't miss a chance to make locals happy and give vistors a true taste of the south!
Sheepshead are recognized by their telltale stripes (which is why they are also known as convict fish) along with their strangely human-like teeth which are designed to bite off barnacles and grind up crab and shrimp shells. But don't let their bizarre faces turn you off - their diet means they are delicious! All the crabs and shrimp they consume means that their meat is uniquely sweet and delicious - you are what you eat, after all.
Sheepshead made a guest appearance on this James Beard House menu from some lauded South Carolina chefs:
There’s not a ton of info available on the sustainability of sheepshead, but since Conservation measures have been in place for this species since the 1990s in the United States and its distribution overlaps with a number of no-take zone and MPAs in many parts of its range, it is listed globally as Least Concern (Carpenter et al 2014 via FishSource.org).