Other Names: Sea Bass
Identification & Biology: Wreckfish are a bass-like species. They are bluish grey on the back and paler with a silvery sheen on the belly. Their fins are blackish brown. Juveniles have black blotches on their head and body. Wreckfish have a big head with a big mouth and a rough bony ridge across the upper part of the gill cover. Wreckfish grow slowly, up to a maximum about 220 pounds and 6.5 feet in length. However, a typical wreckfish weighs 40 to 60 pounds and is 2½ to 4 feet long.cousin of grouper and sea bass, wreckfish was first harvested by accident in the South Atlantic in the early 1980s. A fisherman was using longline gear to try to recover lost equipment and caught a wreckfish by mistake.
Range & Habitat: Wreckfish are found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Grand Banks, Newfoundland, to La Plata River, Argentina, and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from Norway to South Africa. They migrate throughout the North Atlantic during their life cycle. Although they’re found all along the U.S. East Coast, most of the commercial fishery operates over the Charleston Bump, located 80 to 100 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina. Wreckfish are also found in the western Indian Ocean and in the Southwest Pacific Ocean near New Zealand.
In general, wreckfish live in water ranging from 140 feet to 3,300 feet deep. Wreckfish are large predators in thedynamic food chain of the Charleston Bump. The Charleston Bump deflects the Gulf Stream offshore, causing upwelling of nutrient-rich water that supports the growth and production of phytoplankton (tiny plants), and the zooplankton (tiny animals) that feed on phytoplankton… the perfect food for small fish and squid. Wreckfish lurk in caves (and shipwrecks) and under overhangs on the Bump and come out to feed on these fish and squid that are migrating during the day.
Flavor Profile: very large flake, meaty, firm texture, very flavorful
Fishing Technique: hook & line
Special Note: Solitary deep water fish
Suitable Sub: Barrel fish
Seasonal Availability: The wreckfish fishery is closed during their spawning season (mid-January to mid-April). *Wreckfish fish is rated a "best choice" by Seafood Watch. It is also recommended by the Sustainable Seafood Initiative, a group headed up by the S.C. Aquarium.
Recommended Preparation: The flavor and texture of the Wreckfish is light, delicate and clean-tasting… It has a flavor similar to grouper but its texture and consistency are similar to swordfish. The meat is firm and white and has a large flake.