Chilean Seabass

Page - May 27, 2009

Greenpeace Canada Redlist

Fishery Facts

Latin Name Dissostichus eleginoides

Other Common Names Chilean seabass

Fishing Method Mostly bottom longlining, some bottom trawling and traps.

Region of Harvest Fished in cold, temperate waters off the coast off Argentina, Chile, South Georgia and Australia.

Chilean seabass
Why is it on the red list?   Biology

1. It is estimated that in 2003, stocks were overfished by 40 per cent of the legal catch.

2. Patagonian toothfish are fished using longlines, which endanger populations of seabirds who get caught in the lines when diving for fish, including already-endangered species of albatross.

3. Patagonian toothfish live in sensitive deep-water habitats, which represent the last refuge for many commercial species. Bottom trawling for Chilean sea bass results in 11-26 per cent of catches thrown back into the sea. This percentage includes bycatch of other species and even Chilean sea bass that has a “jellied meat” condition

Patagonian toothfish live between 50 and 3850 metres below sea level.

This species is long-living (40 years) and late-maturing (9 to10 years) causing it to be inherently vulnerable to overexploitation.

Patagonian toothfish can grow to be 2.15 metres long and can weigh up to 9.6 kilograms.

Young toothfish feed on krill and shift to fish, shrimp and cephalopods by the time they reach adulthood.

MSC certification

In 2004, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified one small population of Patagonian toothfish off the South Georgia Islands, Antarctica. The National Environmental Trust and other groups opposed the MSC certification of this fish because the rampant IUU fishing severely complicates efforts to determine toothfish stock and future trends, and undermines conservation measures. Additionally, the Southern Ocean is inhospitable, making it difficult to stop IUU fishing.