Product #: 21085F
Scientific Name: Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps
Country of Origin: United States
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The Atlantic sheepshead, named for teeth that resemble those of a sheep, are crustacean specialists. Barnacles and small crabs are their main diet, and their teeth crush these shellfish with great ease. It is nicknamed "convict fish" because of its striped skin. This fish is a favorite of sushi chefs across the mid-Atlantic.
Sheepshead are found throughout the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. In the U.S. most harvest occurs in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina.
Sheepshead is growing in popularity but is not a major commercial fishery, thus management has been limited. The only available stock assessment is from Florida, which found that the population is being fished sustainably and could withstand an increase in fishing pressure. Elsewhere, the stock status is unknown. Sheepshead is harvested with hook and line, cast net and gillnets (in North Carolina only). None of these gears have substantial interaction with sea bottom habitat, but gillnets can have substantial interactions with sea turtles. New regulations have been implemented to reduce these interactions but the efficacy is still unknown.
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