In North America, the only place wreckfish are caught is off the coast of South Carolina at a place called the “Carolina Bump”. This is the only documented spawning site in the Atlantic Ocean. When you purchase this fish, you are supporting a domestic heritage fishery. However, wreckfish is a notoriously difficult fish to catch. Fishing equipment consists of single weighted lines with no more than a handful of circle hooks baited with squid. But because of the fishing method there is no destruction of bottom habitat and no discarded by-catch thereby protecting the environment. Due to these fishing methods, the Carolina Wreckfish is harvested in accordance with the National Marine Fisheries Service sustainable fishery regulations. You can learn more about these practices at www.fishwatch.noaa.gov.
The Carolina Wreckfish is a cousin to both the seabass and the grouper. They are a bass-like species that are bluish Grey above and paler below with a silvery sheen. Their fins are blackish brown. Juveniles have black blotches on their head and body. Their name comes from juveniles tending to hang out in “shipwrecks”. Wreckfish have a big mouth with a big head and a rough ridge across the upper part of the gill cover. The maximum size for the fish is 6.5 feet in length and 220 pounds. It has a firm white flakey flesh and is ideal for roasting and pan searing. It is a great alternative to Chilean Sea Bass. It is seasonally available. The fishery is closed during spawning season (January 15 – April 15).