Sablefish | Black Cod


Anoplopoma fimbria

ALSO KNOWN AS Black cod, Butterfish, Skilfish

Sablefish has a rich oil content that makes it exceptionally flavourful with a soft, velvety texture. Its melt-in-your-mouth, oil-rich meat is the cause for its nickname “butterfish.” The meat has large, white flakes and is excellent grilled or smoked. Because of its high oil content, however, sablefish has a short shelf life and must be handled carefully. The health benefits of this flavourful fish are that it is high in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, with amounts comparable to those in wild salmon.

Sablefish are also known as “black cod” due to their cod-like appearance. Sablefish are actually round fish and belongs to the Anoplopomatidae family, a group of fishes found only in the North Pacific Ocean. They are dark-skinned fish with pearly-white flesh and long bodies. Sablefish grow quickly, with males reaching 3 feet in length and females reaching 2 feet. At this state, they are sexually mature and begin reproduction. Sablefish spawn in deeper water along the continental slope from March through April in Alaska, and from January through March between California and British Columbia.

West Coast fishermen harvest sablefish with trawls, longlines, and pots. Some say that the highest quality fish comes from longline and pot fisheries and that the larger the fish, the better the quality. Sablefish are the highest valued finfish per pound in Alaska and West Coast commercial fisheries. Typically, the bulk of sablefish has been exported to Japan where demand and prices are high, but an increasing amount is staying in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Coldfish’s sablefish are available fresh or frozen, dressed head on/head off, and as fillets, steaks, and portions.