The Patagonian Toothfish?
Patagonian toothfish, is a species of cod icefish found in cold waters (1–4 °C or 34–39 °F) between depths of 45 m (148 ft) and 3,850 m (12,631 ft) in the southern Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and Southern Ocean on seamounts and continental shelves around most sub-Antarctic islands. A close relative, the Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni), is found farther south around the edges of the Antarctic shelf; and a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fishery is active in the Ross Sea.
The average weight of a commercially caught Patagonian toothfish is 7–10 kg (15–22 lb), depending on the fishery, with large adults occasionally exceeding 100 kilograms (220 lb). They are thought to live up to fifty years and to reach a length up to 2.3 m (7.5 ft). Several commercial fisheries exist for Patagonian toothfish which are detailed below.
This species is also sold under the trade names Chilean Seabass in the USA and Canada; Merluza negra in Argentina, Peru and Uruguay; Legine australe in France; Mero, inJapan and Bacalao de profundidad in Chile.
The name "Chilean Seabass " was invented by a fish wholesaler named Lee Lantz in 1977. He was looking for a name that would make it attractive to the American market. He considered "Pacific sea bass " and "South American sea bass " before settling on "Chilean sea bass ". In 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted "Chilean Seabass " as an "alternative market name " for Patagonian toothfish, and in 2013 for Antarctic tooth fish. In the UK, the approved commercial designations for D. eleginoides and D. mawsoni are "icefish " and "toothfish ". This has created some confusion as there is a genuine "icefish " (Champsocephalus gunnari) caught in subantarctic waters, which does not resemble toothfish in any way.
Patagonian Toothfish is currently listed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium on its Seafood Watch list and pocket guides. In April 2013, Seafood Watch produced an updated report, indicating new ratings for some fisheries, which allocates approximately 78% of toothfish caught worldwide, which are as follows:
- Best Choice - Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery (Australia), Macquarie Island Fishery (Australia), Falkland Islands Fishery - Good Alternative - South Georgia Fishery, Kerguelen Islands Fishery (France), Ross Sea Antarctic toothfish Fishery - Avoid - Prince Edward & Marion Island Fishery (South Africa), Chile, Crozet Islands Fishery (France) - Not Rated - Argentina
In 2010, Greenpeace International added the Patagonian toothfish to its seafood red list. "The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries. " In light of numerous recent MSC certifications for toothfish fisheries, some 'seafood chooser' organisations are currently reviewing their previous rankings on this species. For example, the Australian Marine Conservation Society website states: "CURRENTLY UNDER REVIEW: Toothfish (Patagonian & Antarctic) Wild. "
Due to improvements in Australian management of the Macquarie Island and Heard and MacDonald Island toothfish fisheries, AMCS is currently undertaking a review of the ranking for toothfish. There has been significant effort and progress to reduce the impact of the fishery on seabirds and the reduction of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreporteqd fishing in the Australian fishing zone."
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