Alaskan Black cod or Sablefish is found throughout the North Pacific Ocean and as far south as California. But Alaskan sablefish is special because it tends to be richer, possibly because of even cooler waters.
What’s unusual about sablefish in general is that it is such a rich source of omega-3s but dwells near the bottom of the ocean during its adult life. It can be found at depths of more than 2 miles! Or, as fishermen say, they can be found at depths greater than 1500 fathoms. Sablefish eat nutrient-dense fish like Pollock, capelin, herring, echelon, candle-fish, Pacific cod, jellyfish, and squids.
The inner lining of a sablefish’s stomach is lined with a jet-black film. This is a defense mechanism that protects the sablefish from being seen by other predators. Because some of the natural food that sablefish eat contains bioluminescence, their stomachs would light up and attract other fish in the dark depths of the ocean without this thick jet-black film.
The white flesh of the sablefish is soft-textured and mildly flavored. It is considered a delicacy in many countries. When cooked, its flaky texture is similar to Pathagonian (Chilean sea bass). The meat has a high fat content and can be prepared in many ways, including grilling, smoking and steamed or served as sushi Sablefish flesh is high in long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA It contains about as much as wild salmon.
In Japanese Cuisine the black cod (gindara) is often cooked saikyo yaki style, marinated for several days in sweet white miso or sake lees (kazuke) then broiled
U.S. wild-caught sablefish is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.
Alaska sablefish are below target level and Pacific coast sablefish are near target level. Fishing rates promote population growth.
- NOAA Fisheries and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the sablefish fishery in Alaska.
- Managed under the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fishery Management Plans
- Fishing season runs from approximately March 1 to November 15 (subject to change each year).
- Fixed gear (longlines and pots) harvests 90 percent of annual quota and trawl gear harvests about 10 percent.
- The majority of fixed gear is managed with an individual fishing quota (catch shares) program.
- The State of Alaska manages fisheries in state waters under a shared quota system and also manages separate state fisheries.
- NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the sablefish fishery on the West Coast.
- Managed under the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan
- Coast-wide catch limits among different fishing groups and gear types.
- Daily trip limits for some vessels.
- Individual fishing quota (catch shares) for the trawl fishery and some of the fixed gear fishery. The West Coast groundfish trawl fishery is managed under a trawl rationalization catch share program.
- Full observer coverage in the trawl fishery, partial coverage in the fixed gear fishery.