About the species
U.S. wild-caught Acadian redfish is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.
Above target population level.
At recommended level.
Area closures and gear restrictions protect habitat that are affected by some kinds of trawl gear.
Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch.
- According to the 2015 stock assessment, Acadian redfish are not overfished and are not subject to overfishing.
- Estimates of redfish abundance have been increasing in recent years, and the stock was declared rebuilt in 2012.
- Acadian redfish are orange to flame red, with paler underbellies.
- They have a flattened body that is longer than it is deep.
- They have large eyes and a large mouth lined with many small teeth.
- They have one continuous dorsal fin that runs from the nape of their neck to their caudal peduncle (where the body meets the tail) and a small tail fin.
- Young redfish are marked with patches of black and green pigment. They don’t develop their red pigment until after they move to the ocean bottom.
- Acadian redfish are slow-growing, long-lived fish.
- Redfish can grow up to 18 to 20 inches long and live 50 years or more.
- They mature at a late age (5 to 6 years) and have low reproductive rates.
- They mate in late autumn and early winter.
- Redfish give birth to live young (an unusual feature for fish), and fertilization, incubation, and hatching of eggs all occur within the female’s body.
- Eggs are not fertilized until spring and then incubate for 45 to 60 days. Females release their hatched larvae from late spring through July and August.
- Females generally produce between 15,000 and 20,000 larvae per spawning cycle.
- Newly hatched redfish can swim well at birth and are soon able to forage for plankton (tiny floating plants and animals).
- Their survival rate is relatively high compared with that of egg-laying fish.
- Young redfish stay in the upper waters feeding on small crustaceans until they are about 2 inches long.
- In the fall, the young settle to the ocean bottom.
- Older redfish feed on larger invertebrates and small fish.
Where They LiveAcadian redfish are found in the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Norway to Georges Bank.
- NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council manage the Acadian redfish fishery.
- Managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan:
- Permitting requirements.
- Time/area closures to control fishing effort and protect spawning fish and habitat.
- A limit on the amount of all groundfish that can be caught (annual catch limits), as well as response measures if the catch limits are exceeded.
- A number of measures to reduce the fishery’s impact on habitat and other species.
- Minimum size limits to ensure that fish are able to spawn at least once before being caught.
- The optional catch share program can be used for redfish and other groundfish species, and does the following:
- Allows fishing vessels to fish together in groups (sectors).
- Exempts sectors from many gear and area restrictions, but they must stop fishing for groundfish once the sector catches a predetermined allotment of fish.
- Allows fishermen more control over when, where, and how they fish, as well as the ability to target stocks that are not overfished.
- Fishermen who choose not to join a sector must fish under regulations that limit the number of days they can fish, amount they can catch, and when and where they can fish.