Chilean sea bass are not really bass but Patagonian toothfish, a large, slow-growing species first harvested in the early 1980s by Chilean longliners working the continental shelf in depths of 5,000 to 6,000 feet. Chilean sea bass is a member of the Nototheniidae family. In Chile, the fish is also called mero, merluza negra and bacalao de profundidad (“cod of the deep”). The fish was first harvested off the southern coast of Chile, almost to the Antarctic. The grounds have been extended to much of the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a big fish; headed-and-gutted Chilean sea bass have weighed in at 100 pounds, but aver-age market weight is closer to 20 pounds. The fish is marketed in frozen form; “fresh” sea bass is nearly always “refreshed” product (frozen fish that has been thawed). However, since Chilean sea bass is generally frozen at sea, it’s a superior product even when sold as “previously frozen.” Sea bass from South America tend to be bigger than their South African counterparts.
Images and data provided by SeafoodSource. To view the entire Seafood Handbook, visit SeafoodSource.com.