TilefishGolden tilefish


  • Latin name: 
    Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps
  • Seafood type: Tilefish
  • Harvest method: Bottom longline, Handline
  • Region: Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico
  • Wild/Farmed: 
Ocean Wise

Golden tilefish

(Credit: FAO)
Sustainable alternatives: 
Golden tilefish caught by handline or bottom longline from the east coast of the US is a sustainable seafood option.
Sustainability concerns: 
Some by-catch of threatened loggerhead turtles occurs in the bottom longline fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
Golden tilefish inhabit deep (80-400 m) waters along the east coast of North America. Annual landings in the 2000s ranged from 1,000-2,000 mt (with ~90% caught by bottom longline) and all stocks along the eastern US are currently healthy and not overfished. The gears used to catch golden tilefish have minimal impacts the surrounding environment; however, bycatch impacts differ by region.
Life History and Population Status: 
Golden tilefish have a medium inherent vulnerability based on their life history traits. The abundance and fishing mortality of this species along the eastern US is of very low concern as stock assessments state that the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. However, there is uncertainty surrounding fishing mortality in the Gulf of Mexico, although this population is also not overfished at present.
Golden tilefish are managed by three different regional agencies, all of whom have highly effective management plans that follow scientific advice. All regions have up-to-date stock assessments and apply appropriate annual catch quotas. Bycatch management is also largely effective.
Impact on Other Species: 
Handlines and bottom longlines are quite selective, however some bycatch does occur. No species of concern are caught in the mid- and southeast Atlantic, but loggerhead turtles are caught by bottom longlines in the Gulf of Mexico. The Mexican population of this species is classificed as ‘threatened’ by the Endangered Species Act, and interactions with bottom longlines primarily result in turtle fatalities.
Habitat and Ecosystem Impacts: 
Handlines are used to target fish in the water column and thus they have no negative impacts on the seafloor. Although bottom longlines do come into contact with the benthic environment, golden tilefish live primarily in regions with fine sand, silt and mud bottoms. As such, this gear has a low impact on the substrate when fishing for tilefish.


  • No or little concern in this area.
  • Significant concern in this area.
  • Area under study.