The Safina Center

Coho salmon.Coho salmon.Photo taken by: Carl Safina

Species is relatively abundant, and fishing methods cause little damage to habitat and other wildlife.
Sablefish – U.S. Alaska and British Columbia, Canada A fishery targeting this species has been certified as sustainable and well managed to the Marine Stewardship Council's environmental standard. Learn more at
These fish contain levels of mercury or PCBs that may pose a health risk to adults and children.

Sablefish is a moderately growing, long-lived species that is found in deep waters of the Pacific Ocean, from northern Alaska to Baja California. Sablefish abundance is currently at a medium level.

In Alaska and Canada, Sablefish are caught primarily by longlines and traps/pots, while bottom trawls are used more on the West Coast. The longline and trap/pot gears cause significantly less damage to the seafloor compared to bottom trawls and result in low bycatch.

Management of Sablefish is good overall, with implementation of a quota share system in which fishers own a share of the total allowed catch and are allowed to fish at anytime within the season. The Marine Stewardship Council has certified the U.S. Alaska fishery as sustainable.

Full Safina Center species report here.
Full Seafood Watch U.S. species report here.
Full Seafood Watch Canada species report here.

This species may have moderately high levels of mercury that could pose a health risk to adults and children. More info here about mercury in Sablefish. Check out our mercury in seafood section.