Redfish (Acadian & Deepwater) | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Redfish (Acadian & Deepwater)

Sebastes fasciatus (Acadian) & Sebastes mentella (Deepwater)

Also known as

Atlantic redfish, redfish, rosefish, beaked redfish, ocean perch


Northern Atlantic


Rocky bottoms

Feeding Habits

Active predator

Conservation Status

Special concern/threatened/Endangered


Order Scorpaeniformes (scorpionfishes & flatheads); Family Sebastidae


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Acadian and Deepwater redfish are so similar in appearance that they are frequently lumped together as one species, particularly in the commercial fishery. There are also accounts of breeding across species, producing hybridized redfish. Redfish are called “ocean perch,” although they are not perch at all. This name arose during the 1930s when there was a shortage in freshwater yellow perch due to overfishing, at which time fish harvesters began substituting red fish fillets, similar in colour and texture and half the price. 

The redfish fishery began as an incidental fishery, meaning it was not targeted directly. Redfish were caught and sold as bycatch (incidental catch) in halibut, haddock and cod fisheries. They are now targeted in certain regions by both bottom trawl and bottom longline fisheries, but can also be caught and sold as bycaught fish in certain fisheries. The heaviest period of fishing for redfish occurred in the 1990s as a result of the collapse of other groundfish populations. Today, declines in redfish abundance, and subsequent lower catch rates from overexploitation and slow recovery, have resulted in a decreased volume and value of redfish from $22.7 million in 1990 to only $8.9 million in 2014.

Redfish are under assessment, as further data is needed to determine which populations and methods of catch could be a sustainable seafood option.