Sablefish (Black cod)

Anoplopoma fimbria


Also known as black cod or butterfish, sablefish in California are part of one of the two sablefish populations in the Pacific Ocean.  Adults live in muddy waters in depths exceeding 650 feet and as deep as 9,800 feet, while juveniles prefer waters near the surface and the shore. This fish can grow up to 3 feet in length, reaching maturity at about 6 years of age.  In California they breed between January and March, and they have pelagic larvae that can be found at ocean surface.  Sablefish are nomads of the sea: juveniles are known to travel over 2,000 miles in six or seven years. The are voracious eaters, feeding on any prey that is available, such as small invertebrates and fish, squid, and jellyfish.  Humans are not the only ones to find sablefish delicious: whales, seabirds, sharks, and other fish also feed on the fish.  Not only they are delicious, but they are also nutritious: they contain as much omega 3 fatty acids as wild salmon.

Lifespan: Up to 94 years

Size: Up to 4 feet

Distribution: Found on muddy sea beds as deep as 9,000 feet

How fished: Bottom trawl, bottom longlines, and pots

Why sustainable: The sablefish population off the California coast is extremely healthy at 96% of its target level and is harvested at sustainable rates (NOAA FishWatch).  The fishery is intensively managed, and is part of the Catch Shares program.

MBA Seafood Watch rating: Good Alternative

NOAA FishWatch rating: Not overfished

Nutrution (per 100g): Calories 195, Total Fat 15.3g, Total Protein 13.4g, Omega-3 1.66g, Cholesterol 49mg, Sodium 56mg

Cooking Demonstrations:

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