Toothfish

Dissostichus eleginoides

Patagonian Toothfish

Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) is a deep-sea, demersal species found in the cold, temperate waters of the Southern Oceans.

Young, immature fish are found in shallower waters but as they mature they migrate into deeper waters up to 3,000 metres in depth.

Source: CCAMLR

Locations

Distribution ranges from Southern Chile, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia to the sub-Antarctic islands and seamounts of the Indian Ocean including the Kerguelen, Crozet and Marion Islands, and the Australian Islands of Heard & McDonald.

Toothfish inhabits cold waters between 1°C and 4 °C up to depths of 3,500m.  In the Falklands, average fishing depths are around 1,350m, with fishing regularly occurring up to depths of 1,800m.

A Close Relative

The Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni), inhabits Antarctic waters and mainly caught in the Ross Sea during the austral summer, but can be found in many pockets around Antarctic coastal waters.

Source: NIWA

Lifecycle

Toothfish can live up to 50+ years of age and can grow to over 2m in length. Sexual maturity is reached when it is around 70cm to 95cm which equates to between 6 and 10 years of age and has relatively low fecundity. Individuals have been caught with a whole weight exceeding 150 kgs although these larger animals are quite rare.

Toothfish spawn in deep waters during the winter, producing larvae which float to the surface and migrate towards shallower waters of less than 300m where they remain for their juvenile period.  As they grow they gradually migrate towards deeper waters as they approach breeding age.

Diet

In the Falkland Islands toothfish feed largely on loligo (squid) and rock cod in their juvenile years, with hakes, skates and deep-sea crustaceans becoming more typical in their diet as they migrate to deeper waters.  Once settled at depths of over 1000 m, they typically become opportunistic predators, taking less active and relatively small species. In turn, they constitute part of the diet of sperm whales which are, by far, their most significant predator.

Discovery

It was first discovered and exploited commercially in Chile in the late 1980s leading to its common name of “Chilean Seabass”. The history of its discovery is told by G. Bruce Knecht in his book “Hooked” which…

... chronicles how an obscure fish merchant in California ‘discovered’ and renamed the fish, kicking off a worldwide craze for a fish no one had ever heard of and everyone had to have.
Read more on Amazon

In early years the principle market was Japan where buyers were looking for an alternative to sablefish (a.k.a black cod) which was in decline at the time, but it soon found a market in the USA where it has remained strong since.

Toothfish is known around the world under a variety of names, although recently Chilean Seabass has become its most common denomination in the market.
Bacalao de Profundidad
Chile
Mero
Japan
Merluza Negra
Argentina
Róbalo
Spain
Nevertheless, it is neither Chilean nor a Seabass, but is actually of the Southern Rock Cod family (Nototheniidae).
Specifications from CFL
General
Species Patagonian Toothfish
Scientific Name Dissostichus eleginoides
Other Names Chilean Seabass, Mero, Merluza Negra
Documentation
Supplied DED, Certificate of Origin, Sanitary Certificate, Packing List, ISF Form, Weight Survey
On Request EU Sanitary Certificate
Registration FDA Registration, EU Health Registration
HGT
Cut Straight cut
Processing IQF, skin-on
Packaging Individually wrapped in plastic:
0 – 12 kgs: laminated cartons
12/15 – 30+kgs: polypropylene sacks
Sizes Cartons
HGT 1: 1-2 kgs
HGT 2: 2-3 kgs
HGT 3: 3-4 kgs
HGT 4: 4-5 kgs
HGT 5: 5-6 kgs
HGT 6: 6-8 kgs
HGT 8: 8-10 kgs
HGT 10: 10-12 kgs
Bags
HGT 12: 12-15 kgs
HGT 15: 15-20 kgs
HGT 20: 20-30 kgs
HGT 30: 30+ kgs up
Average Weight of Package Approximately 28 kgs
Collars and Cheeks
Cut Full collar
Packaging Individually wrapped in plastic, packed in cartons
Sizes Collars 1: 0.50- 1.00 kgs Collars 2: 1.00 kg up
Heads
Cut Heads 1: Whole, gills out Heads 2: Split, gills out
Packaging Individually wrapped in plastic, packed in cartons
Sizes Heads 1: 0.50 – 1.00 kgs Heads 2: 1.00 – 2.00 kgs