Black Cod (Sablefish) Flavor Profile

Black Cod Flavor Scale

Fresh Black Cod (Sablefish) is a richly flavored fish with a high oil content and satiny texture. They are highly valued for their buttery texture and are frequently sold to Japan before the US market.

Due to its high fat content Sablefish has a velvety texture (hence the name “Butterfish” is a common market name) with a mild but distinctive flavor profile. The flesh is white with large, delicate flakes.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi
Sablefish BlackcodImage from Wikipidia-click for licensing

Description (Anoplopoma fimbria)

Sablefish are a groundfish with dark gray or black skin on their upper body and lighter gray on the belly. They average about 8-10 Lbs but can be up to 40 Lbs. Although they are sometimes called Black Cod, they are not a member of the Cod species. Sablefish are a long-lived species which can reach a maximum age of up to 94 years.

Alternate Names

Butterfish, Black Cod, Blackcod, Coalfish, Alaska Cod, Skilfish, Sable, Gindara (sushi)

Fresh Black Cod (Sablefish) Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh. Frozen available all year long.



Black Cod Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery

ItemTo Skin/On FilletsTo Skin/Off FilletsNotes
Whole Head/On ungutted40%35%
Whole Head/On gutted45%36%
Whole Head/Off gutted59%48%
Skin/On Fillets80%If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
For detailed butchering yield % and recovery see Black Cod Yield Percentage
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

Black Cod Range & LocationAquaMaps Data sources: GBIF

Sablefish are found from southern California to the Bering Sea in the Eastern Pacific, and from Kamchatka, Russia to southern Japan in the Western Pacific. It dwells in muddy areas of the ocean floor at depths of 1000-9000 feet deep.

Typical Wholesale Products

H&G, Fillets, Steaks

Sablefish Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
SablefishBlack Cod, Butterfish, GindaraWild, pots, bottom longlineCanadian Pacific, AlaskaGreen-icon_20.pngGreen-icon_20.pngGreen-icon_20.pngmoderate
SablefishBlack Cod, Butterfish, GindaraWild, bottom trawl, bottom longlineWashington, Oregon, CaliforniaYellow-icon_20.pngRed-Dot_20.pngYellow-icon_20.pngmoderate
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.
Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not RecommendedUpdated
July 2013

Black cod from WA, OR, and CA are rated Good Alternative either due to bottom trawling which hurts the habitat, or by catch from their bottom long-lines.


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.

* Calories/Calories from fat334
* Protein grams23
* Fat grams26.2
* Saturated fat grams5.5
* Sodium milligrams96
* Cholesterol milligrams84
* Omega-3 grams2.7
more Black Cod nutrition info


Comments from before Site Migration

TIFFANI SEITZ []    [ Jul 30, 2015 ]

I think that you need to update your ratings. The California Groundfish Collective has a green rating for their TRAWL caught blackcod from Seafood Watch.


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