Pacific Sanddab

Citharichthys sordidus

South Coast (Point Dume to Mexico border) Flakey fish Wild caught

Andy Murch, elasmodiver.com

      

The Science

Both eyes are on the left side of the Sanddab’s head [2]

The Fishery

Pacific Sanddab is rarely the sole target for a given fishery, and is mostly caught by bottom trawl [3]

The Seafood

Sweet tasting meat but savory skin.  Said to taste like trout and French Fries, respectively [4]

The Science

Andy Murch, elasmodiver.com

Taxonomic description

  • A left-eyed flounder with brown, white, yellow and orange coloration on the eyed side, and white or light brown on the blind side [2]
  • Unlike other flatfish, has a straight rather than slightly curved midline [2]
  • Ranges from 5 inches (12.7 cm) to 16 inches (40.6 cm) in length, and can weigh up to 2 pounds (4.4 kg) [2]

Distribution

  • Found in the Eastern Pacific from the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico to the Bering Sea [2]
  • Most abundant off north-central California and Southern California [8]

Life History

  • Lives up to 9-10 years [5]
  • Spawn multiple times over the spawning season from July to September, with the females producing numerous eggs each spawning session [5]
  • Pairs with one mate at a time and uses external fertilization [5]

Habitat

  • Lives on the seafloor in mostly sandy and muddy areas [6] at depths of 30 ft (9 m) to 1,800 feet (568 m), but is most prevalent between 120-300 feet (37-91 m) [2]
  • Young tend to live in shallow waters, found occasionally in tide pools [12]
  • Lives among various rays, crustaceans, cephalopods, other flatfish and bottom feeders [6]
  • Survives on a variety of small fish, cephalopods, eggs and crustaceans [5]
  • Often nestles into the soft seafloor to camouflage from predators, including sharks, rays and halibut [7]
  • Fished commercially and recreationally by humans [7]

The Fishery

Drew Talley

Seasonal Availability

  • Available year-round, but with less frequency in winter [11]

Management Authority

  • NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, regulates this species under the Federal Groundfish fishery [9]

Gear Type

  • Fisheries that catch this species use bottom trawl—a technique that uses a large, cone-shaped net and a crane-like rig to lift full nets out [10]

Status of the Fishery

  • There are no seasonal regulations in place—Pacific Sanddab is rarely the intended catch.
  • There is little concern about the stock which was estimated to be at 95.5% of its unfished level in 2013, well below the management target for flat fish [3]
  • The harvest rate has steadily declined over the last decade, meaning that fewer fish are being caught in relation to the year’s spawning rate [3]

Potential Ecosystem Impacts

  • Bottom trawl has the potential to capture bycatch and damage the seafloor; this species is mostly found in sand and mud which can recover relatively easily from trawling [10]

The Seafood

365wholefoods.blogspot.com

 Edible portions

  • Whole or fillets [4]

Description of meat

  • Meat is sweeter than most other fish, akin to trout [4]

Culinary uses

  • Sanddab is cut into fillets and deboned after cooking [4]
  • Fillet is best pan fried with olive oil, butter and light breading [4]
  • Skin can be left on (it tastes like fries) [4]

Nutritional information 

  • 1 Fillet is considered a serving, roughly 100 grams [13]

Toxicity report

  • No known toxins

Seasonal availability

  • Available year-round, but with less frequency in winter [11]

References

[1] Safina Center. 2017. Web. www.safinacenter.org/seafoods/sanddab-pacific/. Accessed: 9 April 2017

[2] California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2017. Web.  www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Fish-ID/Sportfish/Flatfishes. Accessed: 9 April 2017

[3] He, X. 2013. Status of the U.S. Pacific Sanddab Resource in 2013. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Santa Cruz, CA, United States. www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/G3a_ATT11_FULL_DRAFT_SANDDAB_ASSMNT_...

[4] Nordahl, D. 2015. Pacific Sanddab (Citharichtys sordidus). www.365wholefoods.blogspot.com/2012/10/pacific-sanddab-citharichthys-sordidus.html. Accessed: 9 April 2017

[5] Fishbase. 2017. Web. www.fishbase.org/summary/Citharichthys-sordidus.html. Accessed: 17 April 2017

[6] Monterey Bay Aquarium. 2017. Web. www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/fishes/sanddab. Accessed: 17 April 2017

[7] Animalia Life. 2017. Web. www.animalia-life.club/fishes/pacific-sanddab.html Accessed: 17 April 2017.

[8] Fishsource. 2017. Web. www.fishsource.org/search?query=pacific%20sanddab. Accessed:  30 April 2017.

[9] Pacific Fishery Management Council. 2017. Web. www.pcouncil.org/. Accessed: 21 May 2017. 57. http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GF_FMP_FinalThruA27-A...

[10] Safina Center. 2015. Web. www.safinacenter.org/2015/02/fishing-gear-101-trawls-bulldozers-ocean/. Accessed: 27 May 2017

[11] Seaforager. 2013. Web. www.seaforager.com/sand-dab. Accessed: 9 April 2017.

[12] Froese, R and D. Pauly (eds). 2006. Citharichtys sordidus. Fishbase. Accessed 27 May 2017. 

[13] Pacific Sanddab,Web. Nutritionvalue.org. Accessed: 21 September 2017.