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Chilean sea bass

Chilean sea bass

Chilean sea bass

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Antarctic toothfish


This long-lived, slow-growing fish inhabits the frigid waters surrounding Antarctica. Toothfish feed on mid-water fish, shrimp and squid and, in turn, are prey for whales and seals. The fish can grow to over 200 pounds. Toothfish are often given the more appetizing name Chilean sea bass.

Commercial Sources

The main legal harvester of toothfish is New Zealand, although illegal harvests may be rampant.

Capture Methods

Toothfish are predominantly caught with bottom longlines.

+-Patagonian toothfish


This long-lived, slow-growing Patagonian toothfish inhabits the deep cold sub-Antarctic waters of the southern ocean. It feeds on plankton and is, in turn, food for whales and seals. The fish can grow up to 6 feet, or 183 cm. This fish is often given the more appetizing name Chilean sea bass.

Commercial Sources

Patagonian toothfish are found in the southern Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are common in waters off southern Chile and Argentina, as well as the islands off Antarctica.

The main sources of Patagonian toothfish are Chile, Argentina, France and Australia. Patagonian toothfish sold in the U.S. market are primarily from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.

Note: French fishing vessels catch Patagonian toothfish in the South Indian Ocean, off Antarctica.

Capture Methods

Patagonian toothfish come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with bottom trawls.

Note: A large percentage of toothfish, also known as Chilean sea bass, are caught illegally.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Antarctic toothfish Mercury 2 2 1 1
Patagonian toothfish Mercury 2 2 1 1
Eco details: 
  • Marketed as Chilean sea bass, Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish are slow growing and inherently prone to overfishing. The premium price also spurred rampant illegal fishing, which has fortunately declined with an increasing percentage of legal operators.
  • The longlines commonly used to catch Chilean sea bass can incidentally snag and drown seabirds, however the fishing industry has made major strides in reducing bycatch in recent years.
  • When buying Chilean seabass look for options from Heard and McDonald, the Falklands or Macquarie as Eco-Best.
  • Chilean seabass from the Ross Sea, South Georgia or Kerguelen make up more than 40% of the fishery and qualify as an Eco-OK.
  • Chilean seabass from Chile, which is still plagued by management and bycatch problems, accounts for approximately 20% of U.S. imports and should be avoided.
  • When possible, look for the blue eco-label of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for certified sustainable Chilean seabass products.