Do you know what redfish you are buying?

Redfish and redfish fillets on Fish International in Bremen, Germany. Foto: FOS

When you are buying redfish in a shop or choosing it from a menu in a restaurant, do you know what type of redfish you are getting? There are many reasons for why it matters, you are maybe interested to know where it is caught, or you would like to know the correct name, or you would like to know if the harvesting is sustainable or not. Which ever reason it is, here is a short introduction into the many species and stocks of redfish in the world.

There are 4 types of redfish harvested in the Atlantic Ocean and one in the Pacific Ocean, with annual catch of over 250 thousand tons. When you buy one of the 5 types of redfish the name is often just redfish, without the scientific name or origin of catch.

The species are the following, with main catch area and annual catch in 2019:

NameScientific nameCatch areaCatch in MT
Golden redfishSebastes norvegicusNE Atlantic57,400
Beaked (deepwater) redfishSebastes mentellaNE Atlantic75,900
Acadian redfishSebastes fasciatusNW Atlantic5,320
Atlantic redfish nei*Sebastes sppNW & NE Atlantic46,500
Norway haddockSebastes viviparusNE Atlantic140
Pacific ocean perchSebastes alutusNE & NW Pacific67,500
Total catch 2019253,700

*This is a combination of 3 species harvested in the NW Atlantic ocean, where the catch is not defined and registered properly. These are golden redfish, beaked (deep-sea) redfish and Acadian redfish. I have only managed to identify 5,320 MT of Acadian redfish.

The FAO catch areas for each species are: NW Atlantic FAO 21, NE Atlantic FAO 27, NW Pacific FAO 61 and NE Pacific FAO 67.

Behind these species are 20 stocks, and each one needs to be managed in the most sustainable way. There are 2 stocks of golden redfish, 6 of beaked redfish, 5 of Acadian redfish, one of Norway haddock and 6 stocks of Pacific ocean perch.

Redfish is a slow growing fish, it is therefore important to manage the stocks well. Countries harvesting in the North Atlantic need to find a way to identify which specie are being harvested and registered as Atlantic redfish nei. Until that happens, management of the fisheries will be difficult.

You can get detailed information about many redfish stocks on the very informative, FishSource

A few stocks are MSC certified, Golden redfish caught in Icelandic waters and some of Acadian redfish stocks harvested in Canada and USA, see Search Fisheries – MSC Fisheries