What Fish Are Normally Caught in Deep Sea Fishing?

If you are heading for deep-sea fishing, you must be aware of the species of fish that you are likely to catch. Many fish species that live in the shallow levels of the sea have a high rate of reproduction. This means that the high rate of reproducing offspring is one of their mode of survival. However, on the contrary, deep-sea fish species have a slow rate of reproduction.

Additionally, species of fish that stay in the deep sea have other features such as slow maturity, they live a longer life than the shallow sea fish, and they produce fewer offsprings than the species of fish that live in the shallow water of the sea. Being able to thrive in the deep sea comes with an array of adaptations to the extreme water pressure. Deep-sea species of fish also experience elevated levels of food competition, leading to a slow rate of reproduction.

Did you know that deep-sea fish produce eggs that are larger than those of shallow sea fish species?

Apart from the eggs being more prominent, they are also highly nutritious to sustain the development of the larvae. This article features some of the more commonly sought-after deep-sea fish. Enjoy the rest of the article.


The Lanternfish also goes by the name Symbolophorus barnardi. This fish is a unique deep-sea fish since it can produce light. According to a scientific study, the ability of the fish to make light is an adaptive feeding characteristic that catches the attention of smaller fish, thus drawing them closer. The Lanternfish also uses its ability to produce light in giving signs to other Lanternfish of a mating season. There are varieties of Lanternfish species, and they are the most common deep-sea fish in oceans. You are more likely to find the Lanternfish during the night on the shallow sea levels.

During the night, the Lanternfish move to the shallow sea levels primarily to hunt and look for food. However, they tend to hide from most of their predators during the day by spending the whole day in the deep ocean, probably the ocean floor. Some of the main predators of Lanternfish are large sharks, tuna, dolphins, sea birds, and whales. During the day, the Lanternfish travel as deep as 1200 feet to 3000 feet. This distance is approximately 360meters to 900meters. On continental slopes, you will find that most of them stay near the coast in large groups.

Flashlight fish

Did you know that you are more likely to find Flashlight fish in the tropical ocean than in any other part of the world? Flashlight fish are also unique deep-sea fish that are approximately 15 centimeters in length. However, depending on the species of Flashlights, some are as large as about 28cm to 30cm long. Like Lanternfish, flashlight fish are also active during the night when hunting for their prey. Their preys are small-sized crustaceans.

Flashlight fish are popularly known due to their unique characteristics, such as having organs that produce light. These organs are located underneath the eyes. You probably think that must have been the origin of their name. Yes, they got their name due to these huge organs under their eyes responsible for generating light.

Flashlight fish are among the few deep-sea species that have self-body mechanisms of generating light. Flashlight fish also have a close association with other aquatic animals like slimeheads and squirrelfishes. Fishing of Flashlight fish is not meant for human consumption. Rather, they are primarily used to enhance beauty in several public and private places that exhibit live fish and other aquatic animals. However, the population of Flashlight fish has been on a decreasing trend in some parts of the tropical ocean due to factors such as pollution, climate change, ocean acidification, and overfishing.

Cookiecutter shark 

One of the most exciting things about the Cookiecutter shark is the fact that it can only grow to a maximum length of approximately 50 centimeters. The Cookiecutter shark is a deep-sea fish that obtained its name mainly due to how it feeds. The Cookiecutter shark has a unique feeding approach as it loves to bite into more giant animals and cut off some small chunks.

Since Cookiecutter sharks rarely come to the shallow ocean water surface, there is limited information on the exact places they like to live. However, some studies point out that you are more likely to find Cookiecutter sharks in tropical and temperate latitudes.

Cookiecutter sharks have light-generating organs all over their bodies. These light-generating organs primarily serve the purpose of sending communicative signals to other members of their species. Additionally, the light-producing organs also help to enhance camouflage, thus protecting themselves from their predators. Like Lanternfish and Flashlight fish, the Cookiecutter sharks are also more active during the night than during the day. They have a habit of moving to the shallow ocean levels to look for food and returning to the deep sea level during the day.


The Bristlemouth fish are also deep-sea fish primarily found in the mesopelagic region of the open ocean. There is also limited information about these types of marine fish due to their large quantities, making them live in areas where researchers find it difficult to reach. Also, the fact that Bristlemouths are delicate, the trawling fishing nets breaks them down during the process of deep-sea fishing.

This is also a contributing factor to the limited available research on Bristlemouth fish. Bristlemouths are also unique since they have a covering of extraordinary cells that generate light. Like the other deep-sea fish mentioned in this article, Bristlemouth fish also use the mechanism of producing light via the cells to scare away their predators. They also use the mechanism of generating light as a means of communication. It has also been challenging for scientists to study this species of deep-sea fish. The main reason behind this research gap is mainly due to the delicate nature of Bristlemouth fish.

During deep-sea fishing, most of the Bristlemouth fish entrapped in the fishing nets die due to their fragile nature. You can only imagine the challenges that researchers are going through, right from fishing, collecting specimens to the study of their behavior trends. It is important to note that it is almost impossible to study the fish behaviors with dead specimens. Researchers should probably develop enhanced deep-sea fishing methods that ensure that the Bristlemouths are not damaged in the nets during the fishing processes.


Some people describe the Anglerfish as one of the ugliest aquatic animals. The Anglerfish also lives in the deep sea, where there is very little light. Anglerfish are primarily found in the Antarctic oceans. Also, among the two hundred species of the Anglerfish, you will likely find some of them in the Atlantic and tropical surroundings.

Fishers and researchers have identified these specific regions for fishing when they are looking for specimens for research. In appearance, the Anglerfish appear to have a dark brown or dark gray complexion. One exciting feature about the Anglerfish is the fact that they have big heads. As if that is not much interesting, the heads have these gigantic mouths which look like a crescent. The mouth of an Anglerfish has many translucent teeth which are very sharp, adapted for catching prey and feeding.

You need to note that deep-sea fishing of Anglerfish is not for human consumption. The primary purpose of fishing this species is primarily for study purposes. Therefore, human beings have very negligible effects on the population of Anglerfish. Anglerfish are hard to find, and consequently it requires very high expertise to locate and fish them. However, with the increasingly changing global environment and climatic conditions, the population of Anglerfish may be at risk.


Viperfish are also deep-sea fish that like to dwell in great sea depths of around five thousand feet. Like most other marine aquatic animals, the Viperfish also loves to stay at the five thousand deep sea levels only during the day. However, during the night, the fish tend to move closer to the water’s surface to approximately two thousand feet below the water’s surface.

Sometimes they even reach less than 2000feet below the surface of the water. This is why fishing of most deep-sea fish can be most effective during the night, as most of them find their way to shallow seal levels. Viperfish is also primarily found in temperate and tropical oceans since these zones have the ideal conditions for their development and survival. Also, like other deep-sea fish, the viperfish can produce their natural light in a flashing manner.  

Because of the Viperfish deep-sea habitat, it is challenging to study their behavior and reproduction schemes. However, the little available research suggests that viperfish use their luminescent organs to attract potential mates nearby. The flashing of natural light also helps the fish communicate with others and as a feeding mechanism to catch the attention of their prey.

Roundnose grenadier

The Roundnose grenadier is a particular type of deep-sea fish which weighs approximately 8lbs and ranges from 3 to 4 feet in length. The fish has a head that is large with a round shape. The tail of the Roundnose grenadier is long and pointed. The Roundnose grenadier has large eyes and comparatively smallmouth.

What is even fascinating about this deep-sea fish species is that it is suitable for human consumption despite its large and complex scales leading to very rough skin. Since human beings discovered the value of the Roundnose grenadier, it has been a target for most fishing organizations. With the exploitation and excess deep sea fishing of the roundnose grenadier, there are fears that the species might face extinction very soon.

The ideal habitat for the Roundnose grenadier fish is the deep sea at approximately 1500meters to 2000meters. This species of fish has a high demand in the fishing industry. However, some fishing companies have, with time, ignored deep sea fishing of the Roundnose grenadier due to the resources needed to catch the fish in their deepwater habitat. This makes the whole process expensive for many fisheries.

The shape of the Roundnose grenadier fish has also contributed to some fishing companies ignoring the species. Out of the total animal weight, you can only recover around a quarter of human consumption due to the large head and long pointed tail.


Did you know that despite the Gindara sablefish being a deep-sea fish, it is one of the most sought-after pelagic fish due to its popularity among chefs? Gindara sablefish is available in many restaurants since many people love eating its meat. The meat of this deep-sea fish is valuable due to its nutritional benefits, such as high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, Docosahexaenoic acid, and Eicosapentaenoic acid. Scientific studies also suggest that this type of deep-sea fish has relatively minimum mercury levels.

That said, it is considered as one of the best nutritious fish, mainly for children. Also, without forgetting the texture, the Gindara sablefish has a similar taste and texture to Chilean seabass, which is also called the snow cod. Interestingly, the Gindara sablefish is not a member of the cod family. You are most likely to find the sablefish in North America, Alaska, and Japan, mainly alongside the coast. That is why the fish is popular in Japanese recipes.

Another interesting fact about the Sablefish is that it is only commercially available at the sablefish farm, which is located on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. This means that apart from being available in deep-sea levels only, technological advancements have come up with culturing methods and farming the sea animal for commercial purposes.

Orange roughy

Previously before this fish got the Orange roughy name, researchers used to refer to it as the slimehead. It is a deep-sea fish that is usually good for human consumption. People’s perception that the name slimehead was not desirable significantly contributed to changing the name from slimehead to Orange roughy.

The Orange roughy sometimes referred to as the Atlantic roughy, is popularly known due to its unique feature of having a very long lifespan. The fish can indeed live for as long as 150 years. However, a significant number of the species of the Orange roughy fish do not attain this age due to the vulnerability to excess fishing. The excessive deep sea fishing of the Orange roughy fish has led to the likelihood that it might be at the threat of extinction.

The Orange roughy fish has high demands among fisheries and scientists who go deep fishing for it in deep seamounts in many of the ocean basins. One exciting strategy of fishing the Orange roughy fish is identifying their schools since they also live in large groups.

During migration, the Orange roughy fish form larger schools. The larger schools are significant since they help in offspring reproduction. They live for many years and mature at a late age. This is one of the reasons why the Orange roughy deep-sea fish is vulnerable to extinction since it can take many years, probably 50 years, to breed new generations of the species in the ocean.

Smooth oreo dory

The Smooth oreo dory is unique deep-sea fish that is only available in the southern hemisphere. They have a slow rate of growth and a long lifespan of up to eighty years. The Smooth oreo dory weighs averagely from 0.8kgs to 4kgs and is approximately 35centimeters to 45 centimeters in length. It is a member of the Oreosomatidae family.

In addition, you will identify the Smooth oreo dory by its physical characteristics, like a mid-grey body. They also have scales and fins that are darker in complexion. When compared to the Black oreo fish, the Smooth oreo dory fish is less angular in shape. The eyes are also less pronounced than those of the Black oreo.

The primary strategy of deep-sea fishing the Smooth oreo dory is using trawling nets that have to sink to approximately 600meters to 1200meters below the water surface as that is the level where they are found in abundance. Fishing the Smooth oreo dory is done throughout the year due to their high value and popularity with chefs and restaurants. They are good sources of proteins, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids.


From the above list of deep-sea fish, it is clear that most of these fish species that live at uninhabitable depths in the ocean have many features in common. These features are mainly attributed to their adaptation to life in the deep sea. For instance, most of them have tough scales and skin, which protects them against the immense pressure of water at the deep sea levels.

Additionally, you have also realized that these commonly sought-after deep-sea fish have light-producing organs covering their bodies. However, the location and size of these light-generating organs vary from species to species. However, the functions of these organs or cells are almost similar since most of them use light to attract mates, prey and communicate with each other. It is, however, unfortunate that overfishing of some of the deep-sea fish might lead to their extinction.

Nicholas Finn

I've been the captain of a fishing boat for over 20 years, and I created Pirateering to share my knowledge of and interest in seafaring.

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