Tilefish
Sustainability Species Identication Title
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Tilefish, Sebastes ruberrimus

Golden tilefish are brilliantly colored blue, green, yellow and rose, and occur in the deep waters of the Atlantic from Nova Scotia south to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico. They are also found in the Indian and Pacific Ocean. Mature tilefish weigh up to 50 pounds, though 20 to 30 pounds is more common. They feed on small fish, squid, shrimp, shelled mollusks, worms, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and sea anemones, and are prey chiefly to sharks. In 1879, tilefish became an important new commercial fishery. Three years later, though, the tilefish suddenly disappeared. Researchers determined that a shift in the water temperature changed the fragile ecological balance on which the tilefish depended, driving them almost to extinction in that part of their range. Based on a stock assessment in 1998, tilefish was declared overfished. The stock is now managed under a rebuilding program.

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