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.