This species was first fished commercially off New Zealand, and then later off of Australia. It was the New Zealanders who launched the marketing effort for the fish formerly known as slimehead — a distinct marketing handicap. After the Kiwis persuaded the Food and Drug Administration to allow use of the name orange roughy, it soon become New Zealand’s most valuable finfish species. The fish is distinctive, with its bright-orange skin, spiky fins and bony head. Orange roughy averages 3 1/2 pounds, and the fillet size is generally 6 to 8 ounces. Roughy is a deepwater species taken by trawls at depths of up to 700 fathoms. In such a cold and pressurized environment, mating is not a frequent activity. Additionally, the average age of roughy caught in commercial fishing nets is from 30 to 50 years, which translates into a slow replacement rate and a high susceptibility to overfishing.
Images and data provided by SeafoodSource. To view the entire Seafood Handbook, visit SeafoodSource.com.