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MESA: Sablefish

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Marine Ecology & Stock Assessment
Stock Assessment
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Adult sablefish as seen from submersible Delta
Adult sablefish as seen from submersible Delta.

Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) are members of the Anoplopomatidae family that includes sablefish and skillfish. Other vernacular names of the species in English include butterfish(US), black cod (US, UK, Canada), blue cod (UK), bluefish (UK), candlefish (UK), coal cod (UK), and coalfish (Canada), some of which are also used to refer to other species of fish, depending on the region.

They occur only in the North Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, and adjacent waters from Hokkaido, Japan to Baja, California, with the greatest abundance in the Gulf of Alaska. Adult sablefish occur along the continental slope, shelf gullies, and in deep fjords commonly in depths between 366 m to 914 m [200 to 500 fathoms (fm)], although they have been found in depths of less than 183 m (100 fm) to over 1829 m (1000 fm). Sablefish observed from a manned submersible were found on or within 1 m of the bottom. For detailed summaries of the longline time series (1979-present), query the web accessible database.

Dana Hanselman
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801


Featured Research, Publications, Posters, Reports, and Activities

  • RODGVELLER, C. J. 2019. The utility of length, age, liver condition, and body condition for predicting maturity and fecundity of female sablefish. Fish. Res. 216:18-28.   Online.
  • SIGLER, M. F., K. B. ECHAVE. 2019. Diel vertical migration of sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria). Fish. Oceanogr. Early online.   Online.
  • FENSKE, K. H., A. M. BERGER, B. CONNORS, J.M. COPE, S. P. COX, M.A. HALTUCH, D. H. HANSELMAN, M. KAPUR, L. LACKO, C. LUNSFORD, C. RODGVELLER, and B. WILLIAMS. 2019. Report on the 2018 International Sablefish Workshop. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-387, 107 p.  Online.
  • 2010 GOA Sablefish SAFE report (.pdf).

See the publications and poster databases for additional listings.


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