How long do they live? Sablefish live up to 114 years in age that we know of [1].

Where are they found? They like the western and eastern North Pacific ocean floor and can be found from 800 feet to almost 4,000 feet down [2].

What do they eat? Since they can weigh up to 55 pounds [2], they pretty much eat whatever they want, including other fish, squid, and krill.

What do they look like? They can reach almost 4 feet long and 55 pounds [2]. See figures 1 and 2. They are long and gray in color.

Figure 1. Sablefish
Figure 2. Sablefish sketch.

How do they reproduce?  They mass spawn, with one female capable of releasing around 400,000 eggs into the water. Unlike other long-lived fish that reach sexual maturity later in life, the Sablefish reach reproductive maturity between 4 and 7 years old [2]. Upon sexual maturity their growth rate slows [3].

How do scientists know how old they are? Otolith ring counts and confirmed with oxytetracycline otolith marking [3].

So what are we lacking? There’s actually information regarding the nuclear genome of Anoplopoma fimbria on NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information). There’s one genomics paper on these guys (and girls)! Genomics of sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria): expressed genes, mitochondrial phylogeny, linkage map and identification of a putative sex gene. I could not find any information related to reproductive senescence of this fish.

Conservation status: No information found.

Please contact me if you have information about this species.

  1. Cailliet, G. M., et al. “Age determination and validation studies of marine fishes: do deep-dwellers live longer?.” Experimental gerontology 36.4 (2001): 739-764.
  2. Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Sablefish species profile.
  3. Beamish, R. J., and G. A. McFarlane. “Reevaluation of the interpretation of annuli from otoliths of a long-lived fish, Anoplopoma fimbria.” Fisheries Research 46.1 (2000): 105-111.