St. Lawrence species

Sea raven

Hemitripterus americanus

Type of resource

  • Bottom fish
  • Fish

Culinary name

Sea raven

Status of the resource

  • Not determined

In season

Sea raven fishing is not commercialised.

SIZE : Up to 70 cm long.

LIFE EXPECTANCY : Undetermined.

LIFE CYCLE : Females lay approximately 15,000 large spherical eggs, which are a pale yellow to orange color. They stick to small rocks or sponges forming small clusters of 140 to 500 eggs. The sea raven then watches over its eggs. Spawning takes place from November to January.

The sea raven is a large fish that somewhat looks like a toad with its bulging eyes on top of its skull. The front of its body is stockier than the rest. Its broad head is flanked by a large oblique mouth with sharp teeth. Its fan-shaped pectoral fins are wide and rounded. Its tail is round.

It has multiple outgrowths, mainly on its head, barbels below its jaw, spines on its back, and its dorsal fins appear to be shredded.

The sea raven’s color can vary according to its environment. It can also modify the brightness of its color: red becomes bright red to brownish-red; its yellowish color will become bright yellow to brownish-yellow.

Close to the seabed, up to 180 m deep.

The sea raven lives on rocky or hard bottoms and prefers temperatures between -2 °C and 16 °C.

Credit : Richard Larocque, photo taken in Les Méchins, at 15 meters of depth.


Small fishes
Benthic invertebrates



Credit : Richard Larocque, photo taken at la Baie des Capucins, at 15 meters of depth.

There is no directed fishing for sea raven in Quebec. There can be an incidental catch during bottom fishing (trawling) and lobster fishing (traps).

Chance for survival as incidental catch

Researchers have evaluated the sea raven’s reflexes and measured cortisol levels as well as other stress markers.

In their blood stream. According to their findings, there is little chance these fish will survive if returned to the water, regardless of whether they have been hurt or not. So why not make use of them, right?

No informations.

It has a firm and flaky flesh and a rich and delicate flavour.


  • When cutting the fish, be careful with the spines at the end of the fins. They are very sharp.