Rubyfish: Quick Facts

Scientific name: Plagiogeneion rubiginosum

Other names: Rock salmon (South Africa)

Ranking: E (Red - Worst Choice)

Best Fish Guide: Rubyfish

 Ranking: E (Red - Worst Choice)

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Alternative Choice: No alternative

Description: This very long-lived (90 years or more), slow growing fish is found from mid-to-deepwater, where they school over the seafloor and off deepwater banks and reefs. Normally a southern ocean species, in New Zealand rubyfish prefer the warmer northern and central waters and are most common at depths of 200 to 400m. Rubyfish are caught throughout the year, mainly as bycatch in trawl fisheries for alfonsino, gemfish, barracouta, hoki and jack mackerel. There is also a developing target trawl fishery. At least a third of recent annual catches were from targeted mid-water trawling fished close to the bottom.

Ecological concerns: The lack of some basic biological information about rubyfish, the absence of directed research, the lack of a quantitative stock assessment and, as a result, the unknown sustainability of recent catch levels. Also of concern is the recent decline in landings off the east coast of the North Island and the lack of a management plan. Non-target fish bycatch (including marine mammals and seabirds) and trawl impact on seabed communities are also of concern.

Economic value: Rubyfish are exported to Europe and Asia.


Biology and risk of overfishing (score E)
Status and sustainability of fish catches (score D)
Impact of fishing method and protected, threatened and endangered species captures (score E and C)
Management and management unit (score D and C)

For a full ecological assessment, click here