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 2017 stock assessment, Acadian redfish are not overfished and are not subject to overfishing.
- 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 Live
- Acadian redfish are found in the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Norway to Georges Bank.
- We manage a single stock of Acadian redfish in U.S. waters.
- NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council manage the fishery.
- Redfish, along with other groundfish in New England waters, are managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, which includes:
- Permitting requirements for commercial vessels.
- Separate management measures for recreational vessels.
- Time/Area Closures to protect spawning fish and habitat.
- Minimum fish sizes to prevent harvest of juvenile fish.
- Annual catch limits, based on best available science.
- An optional sector (catch share) program can be used for cod and other groundfish species. The sector program allows fishermen to form harvesting cooperatives and work together to decide when, where, and how they harvest fish.
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Commercial Fishing Regulations
Acadian redfish is managed under the Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) along with 12 other species of groundfish. Collectively, these 13 species are referred to as the Northeast multispecies complex. For more information on the management of groundfish in the Greater Atlantic Region, please visit the Northeast multispecies complex group species page, or the Northeast Multispecies FMP page.