Marine Science

Researchers seek better ways to farm popular Pacific fish

The dark gray fish prized for its buttery flavor live deep in the ocean, so researchers keep their lab cold and dark to simulate ideal conditions for sablefish larvae.

A biologist shines his dim red headlamp and uses an ultrasound to scan the belly of an anesthetized sablefish about the length of his forearm to tell if it's female and has eggs to collect. He gently squeezes out hundreds of tiny, translucent eggs into a glass beaker.

After the eggs are fertilized externally, they'll grow in large indoor tanks and some in floating net pens in Washington state's Puget Sound to be used for research.

At this federal marine research station near Seattle, scientists are...