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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Orange Roughy Hoplostethus atlanticus

The orange roughy is one of the longest-lived fish species, with individuals having been recorded to reach at least 149 years old. It is a bright, brick-red color, but appears black in the dark waters in which it lives and this helps to hide it from predators.

The orange roughy is a deep-bodied fish with a large head, armed with spines behind the eyes and on the gill covers. The scales on the belly also have sharp spines. Orange roughy live in deep water in rugged, rocky areas and over steep, rough ground, and have a relatively limited home range.


Orange roughy are primarily caught with bottom trawls that damage the seafloor and catch any species in their path. Populations of the fish have been wiped out by overfishing and may take decades to recover.

What Oceana Does

Orange roughy are found near the Juan Fernández Islands, where Oceana campaigns to ban bottom trawling on vulnerable marine ecosystems. Oceana has made several expeditions to the archipelago.

Orange Roughyzoom image
  • Order Beryciformes
  • Length 20–30 in (50–75 cm)
  • Weight Up to 15 lb (7 kg)
  • Depth 3,000–6,000 ft (900–1,800 m)
  • Distribution North and south Atlantic, Indian Ocean, southwestern and eastern Pacific
Orange Roughy habitat mapzoom image