Retail seafood, unlike the wholesale seafood industry, deals directly with the consumer. This industry is comprised of the restaurants, grocery stores, and fish markets where you purchase your clams, lobster, and other seafood. Wholesale, on the other hand, is the distributor that is selling the fish to your local market or restaurant, for you to then enjoy.
For regional fish, like crab or salmon, depending on the area you live in, can often be purchased directly from the source. For those who live near the ocean, the local fresh fish market sells the catch of the day, where you can easily find mussels, shellfish, tuna, and other types of seafood that tastes better and is often cheaper than buying fish at the grocery store.
Some seafood is not available within the United States, and must be imported, even to sell it on a retail level. Many of the larger restaurants that you dine at import fish directly to their kitchens. If it is not possible to deliver the fish still alive, then it is imported in special units, either shipped in dry ice, or units that are equipped with a refrigeration system to keep the seafood tasting fresh.
However, the retail seafood industry is not completely dominated by restaurants, caterers, and grocery stores. Many types of seafood can also be found by shopping online. Though you may have to pay a delivery fee, many websites sell the food at a lower rate than visiting a restaurant or the market. Still, the downside of purchasing your seafood online, is that it is usually frozen, not freshly caught.
Whether you visit an outdoor market, find a sale on imported fish online, or partake in a meal at your favorite seafood restaurant, you are benefiting from the efforts of the retail seafood industry.