Sablefish/Black Cod

Anoplopoma fimbria

Market Name(s): Black cod, butterfish, sable

Contact Purchasing
Sablefish/Black Cod
  • Primary Source: Alaska, British Columbia, West Coast
  • Season: Alaska: Mar 15 - Nov 15; West Coast: Longline fall; trawl bycatch year-round.
  • Primary Fishing Method: Longline, trawl

Size Range:

Max Size: 40 lbs

Avg. Size: 5-9 lbs

Product forms:

FRESH: Skin-on and skin-off pinbone-in fillets, H&G (J-cut).

FROZEN: H&G (J-cut).

Storage & Handling

Properly handled and well iced at 32°F, pinks will remain in good condition for up to 7 days after harvest. Frozen pinks will remain in good condition up to a year if stored at -5° to -15°F.


Cooking Suggestions

Also known as black cod, this fish is exceptionally rich and buttery. It is a delicacy, and can be served simply with salt, pepper and favorite herbs, then sprinkled with lemon juice and baked. Or try sautéing and serve with wine butter sauce. Because of its high oil content, sablefish is also excellent marinated then grilled or broiled.

Selling Points

  • An extremely flavorful fish that is a delicacy in Japan. An excellent alternative to Chilean sea bass.
  • Good quality trawl sablefish are an excellent value much of the year.


  • Grayish flesh color and blood spots indicate bruising and mishandling.
  • Dull eyes and faded gills on whole fish indicate fish is not as fresh as it should be.
  • Yellowing indicates fat is going rancid.
  • Off odor.

The Pacific Advantage

  • Pacific Seafood owns and operates plants in the prime catch areas in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska
  • Pacific Seafood works closely with the fishermen on best catching and handling procedures to ensure top quality
  • Pacific Seafood brand Black Cod is respected worldwide
  • Pacific Seafood industry leading product traceability systems, assuring food safety
  • Pacific Seafood is a founding member of NFI Better Seafood Board for ethical industry practices


One of the market names for sablefish—butterfish—says it all. Exceptionally rich and flavorful, sablefish is the most expensive bottomfish landed by U.S. fishermen. Although more than 90% of the sablefish catch is exported to Japan, a growing number of chefs in the U.S. are learning to appreciate the buttery taste and texture of this unique fish.

Sablefish are found on both sides of the North Pacific, more than 99% of the commercial catch comes from the eastern North Pacific, where sablefish are caught from the Bering Sea to central California.

They are called black cod, sablefish do not belong to the cod family. They belong to the Anoplopomatidae family, a unique group of fish.

Along with Pacific halibut, sablefish are managed in Alaska and British Columbia by an IFQ (Individual Fishing Quota) system, which allows individual longline fishermen to harvest a predetermined amount of fish anytime they want when the season is open from March 15 to November 15.

Off the West Coast, longliners fish sablefish in the fall, most of which is frozen and exported to Japan. Small amounts of sablefish are landed year round by West Coast draggers who land the fish as a bycatch. This fish is often sold fresh, either as fillets or H&G. Larger sablefish, which are caught in deeper, colder water, command a higher price as they have a higher oil content and superior texture. As a rule, sablefish caught off Alaska are larger than sablefish caught off the West Coast.

Alaska produces about 75% of the North American sablefish harvest. In most years, about 30,000-40,000 tons of sablefish are caught off North America.

The term kasu cod is a Japanese term for sablefish that has been marinated in a paste that is left over from making sake, Japanese rice wine.