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Orange roughy

Orange roughy

Orange roughy

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Orange roughy


Also called the slimehead in its native New Zealand, the orange roughy is actually bright brick-red (which pales to orange after it dies) with a blue belly. A sedentary fish that dwells in deep cold waters, it is the longest-living fish (up to 149 years) but grows very slowly, to about 2 feet (61 cm) in length.

Commercial Sources

Orange roughy are found in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Oceans. In the eastern Atlantic, they range from Iceland to South Africa. In the Indo-Pacific, they are distributed around New Zealand and off Chile.

The main sources of orange roughy are New Zealand and Namibia. Orange roughy sold in the U.S. market are primarily from New Zealand, China, Namibia and Australia.

Capture Methods

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

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Orange roughy Mercury 2 2 1 1
Eco details: 
  • Orange roughy mature at a very slow rate and live extremely long lives. Intensive exploitation in past decades has greatly decreased populations.
  • Management in New Zealand and Australia is good, but unregulated landings by other countries continue.