Blue Ocean Institute


Species is relatively abundant, and fishing methods cause little damage to habitat and other wildlife.
Sablefish 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 moderate level. Abundance depends heavily on annual recruitment, which may be affected by environmental conditions like water temperature, currents and food availability.

In Alaska, Sablefish are caught primarily by longlines, while bottom trawls are used more on the West Coast. Trawls are significantly more damaging to seafloor ecosystems and result in greater bycatch of immature and non-target fish.

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. This allows fishermen the time to target areas with lower bycatch. Sablefish are one of the most valuable fisheries in Alaska and the West Coast.

Full 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.