Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Spearfish, Shortbill

© Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission/George Mattson
Spearfish, Shortbill Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Hebi, Shortnose Spearfish Imported Wild
Spearfish, Shortbill Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Hebi, Shortnose Spearfish Hawaii Wild

Spearfish, Wild, Hawaii or Imported

Little is known about the health and abundance of Pacific shortbill spearfish. However, we recommend spearfish from Hawaii as a "Good Alternative," due to effective methods of minimizing bycatch by the Hawaiian-based fleet.

Consumer Note

Common market Names: hebi, shortnose spearfish.


Spearfish is an open-ocean fish found throughout much of the world's temperate and tropical oceans. There is little known about the general life history characteristics of the shortbill spearfish or the health and abundance of its population in the Pacific Ocean.

Shortbill spearfish is rarely fished for directly, but rather are accidentally caught by sport fishermen targeting other gamefish (including marlin and sailfish), commercial longliners targeting tuna and, to a lesser extent, by troll and handline fishermen. There is considerable concern about the amount and type of accidental bycatch from longlining. However, fishery managers and fishermen in the U.S. fleet have made great strides in reducing accidental catch in recent years through changes in regulations and modifications to their longline fishing gear.

We recommend that consumers only purchase shortbill spearfish if they are certain it was caught in the Hawaii-based fishery. "Avoid" imported spearfish due to the high levels of bycatch and the lack of measures to reduce accidental catch in the international longline fleets.

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How fish are caught or farmed makes a difference. Fishing boat