Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria)

Species:A. fimbria

The Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) is the only species in the genus Anoplopoma and one of only two fish in the family Anoplopomatidae. In English, it is called sable (in the US), butterfish (in the US), black cod (in the US, UK, and Canada), blue cod (in the UK), bluefish (in the UK), candlefish (in the UK), coal cod (in the UK), snow fish, coalfish (in Canada), beshow (in Canada), and skil (in Canada).

However, many of these names also refer to other species that do not have a relation. The US Food and Drug Administration only accepts “sable fish” as the Acceptable Market Name in the US. “Black cod” is a vernacular (regional) name and should not be used as a Statement of Identity for this species. The sable fish lives in the North Pacific Ocean on muddy seabeds at depths of 300 to 2,700 m (980 to 8,860 ft) and is important to Japan’s economy.

Sablefish Description

So, what is Sablefish? The Sablefish is a type of fish that lives in the deep waters of the North Pacific Ocean. Adult Sablefish eat whatever they can get their hands on. They eat fish like Alaskan pollock, eulachon, capelin, herring, sandlance, and Pacific cod. They also eat squid, euphausiids, and jellyfish. Sablefish live a long time. The oldest one ever caught was 94 years old, but most of the ones caught for commercial use are less than 20 years old.

Sablefish grow at different rates depending on where they live. In Alaska, they can grow up to 114 cm long and weigh up to 25 kg. But the average length is less than 70 cm, and the weight is less than 4 kg.

Sable Fish Reproduction

Sablefish is a species with long lifespan, and fishers often catch fish that are 40 years old. Sablefish reach maturity between the ages of 5 and 7 years. Once they reach maturity, they spawn every year. They lay 110 eggs for every gram of body weight.

This means that a typical sablefish weighing about 3.7 kg will lay about 407,000 eggs. In Alaska, spawning takes place in deep water (300–500 m) in the winter or spring. The exact timing depends on where spawning takes place. No one knows where or if Sablefish gather to spawn in Alaska, or even if they do.

Eggs grow deep in the water, and larvae grow near the surface. Pelagic juveniles drift toward shore and stay there until they are 30 to 40 cm long. When they are 2 years old, Sablefish start to move into deeper water. At about 4 or 5 years old, when they are fully grown and able to reproduce, they move into their adult home.

What Does A Sablefish Eat?

Sablefish are opportunistic feeders that eat many different kinds of animals. Their diet changes depending on their age, where they live, the time of year, and the season. Fish, cephalopods (like squid and octopus), and crustaceans are what they eat. When they are young, or “yearlings,” Sablefish eat mostly euphausiids.

There are a lot of animals that eat young Sablefish, but adult Chinook and coho salmon may be their main predators. Most likely, sperm whales are one of the main things that eat adult sablefish.


Do Sablefish Migrate

So, now you know what is a sablefish? The Sablefish in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska that the federal government manages are thought to be one population because they move between the two areas. Small Sablefish move west in the Gulf of Alaska, while large Sablefish move east. So, the first places where big classes are seen are in the west.

In Southeast Alaska, the fisheries in Chatham Strait and Clarence Strait are thought to be separate populations. However, tagging studies show that some fish move between Chatham Strait and other waters and between Clarence Strait and waters in British Columbia. No one has tried to figure out how much water moves from inside to outside.

Habitat: Where Does A Sablefish Live?

Sablefish live along the eastern north Pacific coast from Baja, Mexico, to Alaska, along the Aleutian Islands chain, and on the continental slope in the Bering Sea. They live from Siberia in the Bering Sea to Japan’s Commander Islands in the northwestern Pacific.

Adult Sablefish are known as groundfish because they live on the ocean floor. They live in deep water, from 150 to 1,500 m (82–820 ft) deep, along the continental slope, in shelf gullies, or in fjords. Sable fish can be caught in soft, hard, and mixed substrates, but soft substrates are where they are usually thought to be. Most juveniles are pelagic or partly pelagic, which means they live in shallower, nearshore waters.


The number of Sablefish in Alaskan waters isn’t as high as it was in the late 1980s when it was at its highest. However, as of 2010, the sablefish population in federal waters was neither overfished nor close to it. The Chatham Strait population is not thought to be overfished, but the status of other state-managed fisheries is unknown without full stock assessments.

Is Sablefish A Good Eating Fish?


In some places, sablefish, or Black Cod, is a mild, flaky white fish with the same amount of omega-3s as salmon. So, what does Sablefish taste like? It has a velvety texture, perfect white flakes, and a sweet taste. Is Sablefish healthy? It is a healthy, sustainable fish choice that makes for a rich meal.

Is Sablefish The Same As Black Cod?

People often call sablefish “Black Cod,” “Alaska Cod,” or even “Butterfish.” However, Sablefish is not a cod or a real butterfish. It is instead a member of the Anoplopomatidae family, which only lives in the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Is Sable Fish Like Cod?

The Sablefish does not have a relation to cod nor the real butterfish. It is actually a member of the Anoplopomatidae family, which only lives in the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest. Because it has a lot of oil, the Sablefish has a rich, buttery flavor that chefs love.

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