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Top 10 Reasons Why Sablefish is So Expensive

Top 10 Reasons Why Sablefish is So Expensive

Every foodie and an everyday pescatarian is aware of the Sablefish. You will find the Sablefish listed in mostly luxury seafood restaurants and sushi restaurants, and often on the higher side of the price.

This is an expensive piece of fish and there are a lot of reasons for it. Most people know this luxury fish as the black cod and to have this fish might be the dream of almost every seafood enjoyer. 

Although, it might leave you wondering when you see the price of this fish in a restaurant. It might come off as a bit higher than you think. But why is it so expensive and why do people pay such a high price for a piece of fish? It is expensive for all the good reasons. Now let’s see the reasons why Sablefish or Black Cod is so expensive. 

1. The Flavour of Sablefish 

Top 10 Reasons Why Sablefish is So Expensive  The Flavour of Sablefish 

The fabulous taste of the Sablefish fills in the majority of the reasons why it is so expensive. The Sablefish comes as a whitefish accompanied by a high level of fat.

This adds to the extremely extravagant flavour of the fish. The taste of this fish is on the buttery side and therefore gives a unique and delightful taste. 

This is the reason why the Sablefish is also known as the butterfish. The fat content of fish won’t make it dry. Therefore, no matter how you cook it, it will never become dry and will remain moist. In the end, you will have a fish with all the more extravagant flavour. 

2. Sustainability of Sablefish 

Sustainability is an important factor that aims at controlling the consumption of natural resources. Therefore, it aims at preserving natural resources.

In fishing, sustainability is important as there won’t be any fish for future generations if we don’t concentrate on sustainability.

As most people extensively depend on seafood for nourishment, so sustainability is important. The sustainable fishing restrictions are being exceeded by almost 90% of fish populations.

But Sablefish is a sustainable fish and when we compare it to other fishes it comes as highly sustainable. As most of the time, you can get a sablefish by knowing that it is sustainable. There are organizations such as Seafood Watch which give eco-ratings and certifications to fisheries.

With these certifications, you can know whether the fish is sustainable or not. Sustainability techniques for seafood are similar to many other green techniques. They are essential to preserving the environment. 

Fisheries must invest in order to earn these certifications. They need to have the pieces of equipment, monitoring tools, and other things. They also have to stop fishing sablefish after they have caught a specific quantity of sablefish. Even after they have put up hooks and traps, they might need to move on to a different species.

Therefore, the sustainability of the sablefish is also one of the reasons for the higher price of sablefish. Most wild-caught sablefish is a smart choice because there’s a significant amount of sustainability management, which is regulated by both the U.S. and Canada.

3. Sablefish is easy to cook 

Cooking sablefish is an easy job and the chances of ruining a good piece of this fish are extremely. This fish can be cooked in a lot of ways. Because of the fat content of this fish, the chances of this fish being dry are easy. So, overcooking it is not a problem at all, and will still have its moist and fabulous taste. 

There are also a lot of ways in which it can be cooked. It can be smoked, fried, and can even consumed raw. You will find sablefish in a lot of sushi restaurants. If it’s raw all it needs is a little bit of sea salt and a dash of lemon.

You can grill it and smoking this fish has never been too easy. The most typical technique is pan roasting. This will allow you to fully appreciate the flavor’s authentic, buttery quality.

4. Not easy to catch 

One of the major reasons why a Sablefish is expensive is that it is not easy to catch. There is a whole lot of process in catching Sablefish. This fish can be caught by pieces of equipment that are usually used by fishermen such as hooks and traps.

But it is up to the professional fishermen as these fishes are caught on the deeper sides of water bodies. 

The majority of the fishing for Sablefish and Black Cod takes place in British Columbia. Typically, steel frames in the shape of conical traps are erected, and these frames are covered in nylon netting. A lengthy line is used to anchor the traps to the ocean floor.

The longline may be up to two miles long because sablefish reside on the seafloor. Hooks are then secured along the way. A single fishing line may have 2,000 hooks, which is not unusual.

The Sablefish is then attracted toward the traps. This is followed by the fish being directed toward a tunnel. These can weigh between 10 and 100 pounds, depending on the age of the fish. 

Although this is just the beginning of catching Sablefish. All this is followed by the procedures involving the government. The fishermen have a limited amount of Sablefish that they can catch. The unloading of the catch is observed from the dock.

Onboard electronic monitoring is present and individual vessel accountability is another factor. Fisheries and Oceans Canada controls and establishes how many Sablefish should and can be caught in a single season. 

Therefore, with all these procedures involved, there are not many fishermen that target Sablefish. Fewer fish harvesters actively participate because it is one of the harder fish to catch. 

5. Hard to Access

The fact that Sablefish is hard to find adds up more to the difficulty of catching Sablefish. It doesn’t just come into your hook causally. These fishes favour having their meal on the bottom of water bodies and wander about on the deep side of the waters.

Sablefish usually swim around depths of 1600 to 3300 feet. Also, Sablefish’s season touches the end of March or early April. 

In addition to all this, there are limitations attached to the amount of Sablefish that can be caught. Moreover, along with annual catch limits that are tightly enforced as well as size restrictions on the fish. Only about 35 vessels actively fish for sablefish each year due to the rarity of this species in the wild. 

6. Sablefish shipping is expensive 

Sablefish are mostly found around the water of Alaska and the Northwest Pacific. Therefore, the higher end of Sablefish is found in these areas and to make it available around the world shipping is a must. 

Therefore, a restaurant has to pay for the shipping of Sablefish and this doesn’t come as cheap. Most of the time fresh Sablefish needs to be shipped every day and this is costly. As fresh Sablefish has to be shipped overnight, the cost of shipping can be overwhelmingly high. 

The fish must be thoroughly frozen, and ice or ice packs must be used, according to TSA specifications. To preserve fish as fresh as possible throughout the transport process, specialized shipping and packing containers are frequently employed. The cost of shipping or transporting sablefish might be high given that some of them can weigh up to 100 pounds. 

7. Health benefits of Sablefish 

Sablefish is not just for the taste, it brings in health benefits as well. Sablefish contains omega-3 fats which are a much-needed nutrient for your body. 

The omega-3 fatty acids lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which can lead to rapid cardiac death from an irregular heart rhythm. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids can lessen blood clots and prevent artery lining damage. Additionally, you can have less inflammation if you consume a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It lowers and gets rid of plaque so that your blood pressure is lower.

Additionally, the Sablefish contains EPA and DHA fatty acids which help in developing the brain and respiratory system. It contains Vitamin B12 as well. Moreover, this fish has a low amount of mercury, which makes it safe to eat several times a week and will never affect your brain. 

But how you eat this fish also determines its level of health. If you want most of the health benefits then you should grill it or smoke it. Sushi is among the greatest ways to take advantage of sablefish’s health advantages. You won’t lose any vitamins or minerals after cooking because the fish is served raw. The majority of the health advantages are lost if the fish is poached in butter or covered in a creamy sauce. 

8. Supply and Demand of Sablefish 

Supply and demand rule much over the price of the Sablefish. The costs will be significantly greater when there is a low supply and a strong demand. This is because consumers will still pay the price rise, and suppliers are confident in doing so.

Your location also plays a huge role in supply and demand. Sablefish will be far less expensive if you’re in Vancouver or another Pacific Northwest city as it is available there in large numbers. Although it will still be pricey, the price will be fair because there is a supply.

There is hardly any supply if you live on the Atlantic shore, like in Boston or New York, for example. A large of the supply of Sablefish goes to restaurants and fish markets. As with the demand for Sablefish, they will raise the price of the fish. 

Sablefish obtained in Alaska are also in high demand since they are frequently larger than those caught in British Columbia. The larger fish is preferred because restaurants can charge more for it and call it “Alaskan sablefish.” 

It’s crucial to concentrate on supply and demand because it will affect how much you pay per pound by several dollars. The market price of the Sablefish fluctuates a lot. Understanding the sablefish season can assist you to comprehend the supply and, in turn, the demand. There are two seasons: October through December and April through July. Outside of those months, the price of sablefish will increase significantly due to a lack of supply. 

9. Mostly found in luxury restaurants 

For you to run across a Sablefish, you need to go to a luxury restaurant. Cooking and handling the Sablefish can be done by expert chefs. Therefore, in a luxury restaurant, expert chefs check the quality of the Sablefish and find the best one. Sometimes there are fishmongers as well to determine the high quality of the Sablefish. 

Also, the luxury restaurants have a unique and extravagant ambiance and they will charge for that as well. Moreover, the Sablefish is usually served along with other luxury ingredients such as caviar and truffles. 

It’s not unusual for a restaurant to charge $40 or more for the dish, depending on the restaurant’s exclusivity and the additional ingredients utilized. The majority of sablefish eateries will be found along the Pacific coast. Any time a restaurant has to spend money to ship fresh fish in, the price goes up. 

10. Fisherman Attention Is Turned to Other Fish 

As there are a lot of procedures to go through while catching Sablefish, therefore fishermen choose to go for other fish.

Most of the fishermen go for the species of fish that are easier to catch and bring in more money. Salmon and steelhead are included in this. One salmon is simpler to catch than one sablefish.

Even while sablefish can sell for greater money, the hassle is frequently not worthwhile. As a result, the fishermen won’t have as many sablefish when they return from weeks at sea. It causes the fish to be rare and more expensive. 


Sablefish can be expensive and there are a lot of genuine reasons for it. It is flavourful, healthy, and rare. Catching it is difficult and the fishermen have to go through a lot of procedures. But all this is worth it as it is extremely tasty. You can catch them at low prices as well, you just have to know the season and know the supply and demand. Also, you can have sturgeon, salmon, and tuna as they are equally healthy and tasty as the Sablefish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How much does Sablefish Cost on average in the US?

Sablefish, or Black Cod (Anoplopoma fimbria), is an exquisite species of seafood found in the deep waters of the North Pacific Ocean. On average, this extraordinary fish can cost anywhere from $30 to $50 per pound in the United States. This high price point is mainly due to its rich flavor and firm texture, which make it a coveted choice among high-end restaurants and grocery stores. It’s always best to check with local seafood markets or retailers for the most up-to-date pricing information.

Why Black Cod Fish is so expensive?

There are several reasons why this particular species of fish is so popular. First, black cod has a distinct flavor that comes from its high levels of oil and fatty acids. This makes it incredibly rich and buttery with a soft texture, making it perfect for creating sauces, soups, and stews. Secondly, Harvesting sablefish from deep waters can be challenging and requires specialized equipment and techniques, which increases the cost of production.

Is Sable Fish healthy?

Yes, sablefish is a very healthy and nutritious fish. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease. Sablefish also contains essential vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, selenium, iron, zinc, and B12 that support regulation of metabolism while providing necessary nutrients to the body. Furthermore, sablefish is rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an important nutrient for brain development and function. Overall sablefish can be a great addition to any well balanced diet!

What does Sablefish taste like?

Sablefish has a rich, buttery flavor and subtle sweetness that make it extremely popular. It is milder than its more oily counterparts, like mackerel and salmon, but with a high fat content it is still very satisfying. The flesh of the sablefish is delicate and holds up well to grilling or searing in a pan. It pairs well with strong flavors such as soy sauce, ginger or garlic for an added kick. Sablefish is also delicious when smoked for an even richer flavor.

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