Golden redfish

Sebates norvegicus

The golden redfish is one of the most common and commercially important fish in Icelandic waters. It is commonly from 35 to 40 cm long in catches, but exceptionally large individuals of up to 100 cm and 15 kg have been measured. 


Golden redfish is found all around Iceland on various bottom types, but off the north coast mainly juveniles are found. It is both found close to the bottom and in the water column (usually at night) and can therefore be classified as benthopelagic. The main fishing grounds, as well as the main adult grounds, are at the edge of the continental shelf at 200 to 400 m depth south and west of Iceland. The golden redfish is found along the coast of North America from Cape Cod to Newfoundland, in southern Greenlandic waters, around Iceland, the Faroe Islands, in the Northern part of the North Sea, along the coast of Norway and in the southern part of the Barents Sea.


Growth is very slow, and maturity is only reached at the age of 12 to 15 when the fish is around 35 cm long. Redfish mate in early winter; the female carries the sperm and eggs, and later larvae that are hatched in April/May in remote areas in the southwest. The fry stays near the bottom off East Greenland and at the edge of the Icelandic continental shelf. All the redfish species primarily feed on zooplankton, but also on small fishes such as capelin 51. The single most important food group, however, is the krill.


The fishery for golden redfish is primarily along the shelf edge from southeast to northwest of Iceland. It is likely that redfish catches in Icelandic waters until around 1980 were predominantly golden redfish, since it is very common and lives in shallower waters than beaked redfish. After 1950 the total catches in Icelandic waters were around 150 000 tonnes but declined to the level of 80 000 to 100 000 tonnes from about 1955 to 1988. Icelandic boats also caught a considerable quantity of redfish in distant waters, primarily off Eastern Greenland and Newfoundland. The catches of golden redfish in Icelandic waters are now about 40 000 t/y. The golden redfish is fished all year round, but the fishing is often best in late winter. It is almost exclusively carried out with bottom trawls.​


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