Anoplopoma fimbria Pallas, 1811, San Francisco, United States.
Anoplopomatidae placed either within suborder Hexagrammoidei or suborder Anoplopomatoidei.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Blackcod, Alaska blackcod, coalfish.
Sablefishes have separate dorsal fins of equal size and a forked tail fin on a streamlined body of gray to black color. Sablefishes grow up to 42 in (107 cm) in length and over 125 lb (57 kg) in weight.
Deep, offshore waters of the North Pacific, from Baja California (Mexico), to the Bering Sea, and across to southern Japan. Sablefishes range thousands of miles during their lives and occur at depths of over a thousand feet, abundant down to 3,000 ft (914 m). Their young occur in more inshore waters.
Open, deep ocean water of the North Pacific. They often feed near the bottom in association with deep-sea fishes like rattails and grenadiers.
Sablefishes swim at relaxed speeds and approach and school with fishes of other species, sometimes as a prelude to a sideways lunge for a head-first swallowing of the unsuspecting prey. They cannibalize their young when they are abundant in inshore waters.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Sablefishes eat crustaceans, worms, small fishes, and any larger fishes they can capture, which can include salmon almost as long as the sablefish.
Spawning occurs during winter, and the pelagic eggs float in deep water of about 3,000 ft (914 m) where seawater remains constantly cold. Larvae hatch before functional eyes, jaws, or gut have formed and remain deep until absorbing their large yolk. Larvae with large pectoral fins grow in surface waters during spring.
Not listed by the IUCN. Heavily fished through the last century by American, Canadian, Russian, and Japanese longliners and trawlers, sablefishes are now recognized as a depleted species. Catch quotas are now a small fraction of the peak landings that occurred during the middle of the last century. Russian landings from the Bering Sea were reported to have been 38 million pounds (17,000 metric tons) during 1967. Canadian landings at that time were lowest, around one million pounds (454 metric tons).
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Sablefishes have been valued greatly as a smoked fish (smoked Alaska blackcod). Their flesh is quite oily. Native North Americans sundried the sablefish. Because they adapt well to living in tanks and net pens, blackcod are being developed as a highvalue species for diversification of salmon farms.
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