Sea bass and Chilean sea bass swim in the same waters and share the name sea bass. This causes many people to wonder if there’s a difference between the two. Let’s answer, is there a difference between Chilean sea bass and sea bass?
Chilean sea bass and sea bass are a different species of fish. Chilean sea bass and common sea bass like white seabass, black sea bass and European sea bass are from different families. Chilean sea bass grow longer, weigh more, swim deeper and live longer than sea bass.
This article will do a side-by-side comparison of their tastes, textures, nutrients, costs, cooking methods, mercury levels and whether one can substitute for the other in recipes. In addition, I’ll compare their habitats, size, weight and how to tell them apart.
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Disclaimer: The above link and others in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Sea Bass vs Chilean Sea Bass: Habitats, Size, Weight and Appearance
Sea bass is a term shared by many different species of fish. The more common ones are Black Sea bass, White Seabass, European sea bass and the Patagonian toothfish. The Patagonian toothfish is also known as Chilean sea bass.
To increase the Patagonian toothfish marketability, the name Chilean sea bass was given to it in 1977. In 1994, The FDA accepted the name Chilean sea bass as an alternative name.
We now know there are differences between sea bass and the Chilean sea bass but how do you tell them apart?
To tell the difference between sea bass and Chilean sea bass is to check the side of the fish for lateral lines. The chilean sea bass has two lateral lines running down the body other sea bass don’t have. The lateral lines are made up of tubed scales. The upper line has 88-104 scales, and the lower line has 61-77 scales.
Other ways to tell the difference between sea bass and Chilean sea bass:
- The white seabass has a raised ridge running along the bottom of the belly. The chilean sea bass doesn’t have a raised belly ridge.
- Black Sea bass have white marks on their dorsal fin. The chilean sea bass doesn’t have white coloring on their dorsal fins.
- The white seabass have a bluish-gray back with silver sides. The chilean sea bass have brownish-gray coloring with darker blotches throughout.
- European sea bass have a dark bluish back with silver sides and whitish belly. Chilean sea bass doesn’t have any silver or blue coloring, just brownish-gray.
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Scientific Classifications, Families and Species
Chilean sea bass are from:
- Family: Nototheniidea
- Genus: Dissostichus
- Species: D. eleginoides
- Common nicknames: Patagonian toothfish, white gold, toothfish.
European sea bass are from:
- Family: Moronidea
- Genus: Dicentrarchus
- Species: D. labrax
- Common nicknames: European bass, sea bass, branzino, capemouth.
Black sea bass are from:
- Family: Serranidae
- Genus: Centropristis
- Species: C. striata
- Common nicknames: Sea bass, blackfish, black bass, rock bass.
White seabass are from:
- Family: Sciaenidae
- Genus: Atractoscion
- Species: A. nobilis
- Common nicknames: Sea bass.
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Habitats
Chilean Sea Bass Habitats
- Chilean sea bass are found in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, southwestern Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean. Their habitats include the coastlines of North America and South America.
White Seabass Habitats
- White seabass are found in the Pacific Ocean from Alaska down south through California to Mexico.
Black Sea Bass Habitats
- Black Sea bass are found in the western Atlantic Ocean along the eastern coast of the United States. Their habitats range from Massachusetts down south to the Gulf of Mexico.
European Sea Bass Habitats
- European sea bass are found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean along Europe down south to Africa. They are also found in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea.
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Appearance
Chilean Sea Bass Colors
- The Chilean sea bass body is brownish-gray with darker blotches.
White Seabass Colors
- The white seabass upper sides and back are a bluish gray transitioning to silver on the sides and lower body. A juvenile has dark vertical stripes on the back.
Black Sea Bass Colors
- Black Sea bass are typically black or a dusky brown. The lower sides are slightly lighter. The dorsal fin has white spots. Spawning males develop a bright blue and green around the eyes.
European Sea Bass Colors
- European sea bass sometimes have a dark bluish back transitioning to silver sides and whitish belly.
- Chilean sea bass have two dorsal fins. The front dorsal fin has 8 to 10 spines, and the second has 28 to 30 soft rays.
- White seabass have two dorsal fins. The front dorsal has 8 to 10 spines, and the second has over 20 soft rays.
- Black Sea bass have one long dorsal fin. The front dorsal fin has 10 spines followed by 11 soft rays.
- European sea bass have two dorsal fins. The front dorsal fin has 8 to 9 spines followed by 8 to 9 soft rays.
- The Chilean sea bass jaw extends past the eye line. The mouth contains teeth on the upper and lower jaws.
- The white seabass jaw extends past the eye line. The mouth contains teeth on the roof.
- The Black Sea bass jaw extends to the center eye line. The mouth contains teeth on the roof and the jaw.
- The European sea bass jaw does not extend to the center eye line.
Size and Weight
- The Chilean sea bass fully grown and aged con reach 7 feet long and weigh 220 pounds. The average one caught is 28 inches long and weighs 20 pounds.
- The average white seabass is 36 inches long and weighs 20 pounds.
- The Black Sea bass grow up to 24 inches long and weigh 9 pounds.
- The European sea bass averages 32 inches long and weighs 11 pounds.
- The Chilean sea bass have two lateral lines running down the length of the body. The upper and lower lines are made up of tubed scales.
- White seabass have a raised ridge running along the bottom of the belly.
- The Black Sea bass have white spots on their dorsal fin. Breeding males develop a hump on the head and a bright blue color around the eyes.
- The European sea bass have a long lateral line running down the side of the body.
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Life Expectancy
- Chilean sea bass may live up to 50 years.
- White seabass may live up to 20 years.
- Black Sea bass live up to 8 to 12 years old.
- European sea bass may live up to 25 years.
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Diet
- Chilean sea bass consume small fish, squid and crustaceans.
- White seabass consume small fish, anchovies, squid and sardines.
- Black Sea bass consume crabs, shrimp, small fish, worms and clams.
- European sea bass consume small fish, worms, crustaceans and mollusks.
Sea bass and other fish are known for being a part of many diets like keto or heart healthy.
If you’re eating low-carb or want to give keto a try, many of my clients have followed this 28-Day Keto Challenge with great success. Visit their website and check it out.
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Tastes and Textures
Who wants to eat a fish if it doesn’t taste good? Taste and texture are two main reasons why people choose a particular fish to eat. When comparing the two fish, does Chilean sea bass taste like sea bass?
Sea bass and chilean sea bass have a similar mild to sweet flavor. Both sea bass have a moist, tender texture that’s moist and buttery when cooked properly. Neither sea bass is considered to have a fishy taste or smell.
Is sea bass good to eat? Sea bass has a mild delicate flavor good to eat. It’s slightly sweet and doesn’t have a fishy smell or taste. The sea bass texture is firm, tender and moist with medium sized flakes.
What does Chilean sea bass taste like? Chilean sea bass has a delicate, rich flavor. Cooked properly it has a moist, buttery feel. The texture is flakey, tender but firm enough to hold together well when cooking.
I polled readers and members of food groups I belong to. The following are the results of my poll which consisted of 28 people. I asked which fish tasted better, sea bass or chilean sea bass?
- 39% preferred the taste of sea bass.
- 56% preferred the taste of chilean sea bass.
- 5% said they had no preference between the two.
Find out how sea bass compared to cod in my article, Sea Bass vs Cod – Is One Better? Let’s Compare.
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Substitutions
When it comes time to cook, you may only have one kind of fish available in your refrigerator or freezer. In addition, it’s not always possible to locate the type of fish required for your recipe in the store. If you have some sea bass, you may ask, can I substitute sea bass for Chilean sea bass?
Sea bass and Chilean sea bass can substitute for each other due to their similar rich and sweet flavors. Chilean sea bass and sea bass can be cooked using similar cooking methods due to their delicate but firm textures. Both sea bass can be cooked by broiling, baking, searing, frying and grilling.
Chilean sea bass substitutions include the following:
- Lake trout
- Black Sea bass
- White seabass
Substitutions for sea bass include:
- Lake trout
- Striped bass
How to Cook Chilean Sea Bass
Popular ways to cook Chilean sea bass include:
Flavor pairings for Chilean sea bass:
- Olive oil
- White wine
- Italian seasonings
- Black pepper
How to Cook Sea Bass
Popular cooking methods for sea bass include:
Flavor pairings for sea bass:
- White wine
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- Lemon pepper
- Italian seasonings
How Much Sea bass and Chilean Sea Bass Cost
The costs for fresh fish will vary depending on how the fish are caught. A fish caught in the ocean will definitely be more expensive than farm-raised.
When purchasing fish, be sure to check the label to see if it is wild-caught or farm raised. Therefore, which is more expensive, sea bass or chilean sea bass?
Chilean sea bass is more expensive than sea bass. The average cost for sea bass is $27.55 per pound while the average cost for chilean sea bass is $37.48 per pound.
I checked the local Freshdirect online supermarket for the current prices of chilean sea bass and sea bass.
- Wild Black Sea bass fillet
- $24.99 per pound
- Farm-raised European sea bass fillet
- $24.49 per pound
- Wild Chilean sea bass fillet
- $34.99 per pound
I checked Fulton Fish Market online and found the following prices for sea bass and chilean sea bass:
- Chilean sea bass
- $39.98 per pound
- European sea bass
- $33.17 per pound
To save some money on fresh seafood, would you believe some can be purchased on Amazon? Check out their current prices and selection, Fresh Seafood.
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Mercury Levels
The FDA and EPA have issued warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often they should be consumed 11. This is especially important for the following:
- Developing children
- Young infants
- Pregnant women
They established a list of the following:
- Fish to avoid
- Good choices
- Best fish
Let’s answer, does sea bass or chilean sea bass have more mercury?
Chilean sea bass and most sea bass have similar levels of mercury. Chilean sea bass and other sea bass are listed on the FDA’s good choice of fish regarding mercury levels. Black Sea bass is listed on the best choices list.
If you’re pregnant, breast feeding or has a young child, Always check with a physician prior to eating new foods or changing your dietary habits.
Mercury warnings can change over time or affect only a particular area or state. Please check with your local EPA and FDA for the current recommendations 12.
Find out how sea bass compared to salmon in my article, Sea bass vs Salmon: Which is Better?
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Nutrient Comparison
Below is a complete nutrient comparison of sea bass and chilean sea bass per four ounces:
|Nutrient||Chilean Sea Bass, raw (4 Ounces)||Sea bass, raw (4 Ounces)|
|Fat||2.3 g||2.3 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.7 g||0.6 g|
|Cholesterol||46 mg||46 mg|
|Protein||21 g||21 g|
|Omega-3||0.49 g||0.76 g|
|Iron||0.2 mg||0.3 mg|
|Potassium||287 mg||290 mg|
|Calcium||13.6 mg||11.3 mg|
Sea bass and chilean sea bass both contain many minerals, vitamins and healthy fats. The most beneficial may be the omega-3 fatty acids found in both fish. Sea bass provides 0.76 mg per four ounces and chilean sea bass provides 0.49 mg.
Omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy. Keep reading the next section below to find out how the nutrients and healthy fats benefit health.
Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass Health Benefits
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The omega -3 fatty acids provided help keep arteries healthy and are considered heart healthy.
The omega-3s may help with the following:
- Reduce plaque buildup.
- Help regulate heart rhythms.
- Reduce inflammation.
- Lowering triglycerides.
- Keeping bad cholesterol low.
- Keeping good cholesterol high.
Many studies suggest omega-3s boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs. In addition, they’ve been shown to help reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
DHA and EPA, two of the fatty acids, are associated with lowering blood pressure and improving the health of blood vessels.
Researchers believe the fatty acids help keep a body’s blood vessels strong, capable and flexible. This allows for better blood flow and improved circulation of oxygen 18.
Find out what fish are good substitutes for sea bass in my article, Sea Bass Substitutes: 10 Healthy Alternatives.
Chilean sea bass provide 287 mg and sea bass 290 mg per four ounces. Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium which helps reduce fluid build-up. The result keeps systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 19.
The more potassium you consume, the more sodium your body will lose. Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 20.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and increased blood pressure 21.
The B vitamins provided by sea bass and chilean sea bass include the following:
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B9 (folate)
B vitamins help support the following:
- Brain function.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Red blood cells.
- Nerve function.
- Energy levels.
Selenium is a nutrient which doesn’t receive much attention in health related articles. I’m unsure why many people don’t write about it more. Many studies 22 show selenium may help to protect the following:
- The immune system
- Cognitive issues
- Heart disease
The magnesium sea bass and chilean sea bass provide helps keep blood pressure levels balanced and stable. A recent study researched 22 studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased diastolic and systolic blood pressure 23.
Magnesium helps control the following:
- Nerve function
- Blood sugar
- Blood pressure
It’s able to accomplish this because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.
In the muscles and heart, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting. When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat 24.
Chilean sea bass provides 13.6 mg of calcium and sea bass 11.3 mg. Calcium is important for blood pressure and the heart.
Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure because it helps to control the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 25.
Calcium also helps the following:
- Improve nerve function.
- Helps muscles function properly.
- Build and maintain strong bones.
The phosphorus sea bass provides has been shown in scientific research to help with the following:
- Muscle recovery.
- Muscle contraction.
- Promote healthy nerve conduction.
- Promote teeth and bone strength.
- Help the body store and manage energy.
- Help the kidneys remove waste.
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- Wikipedia: Sea bass
- Britannica: Sea bass
- NOAA Fisheries: Black Sea Bass
- Wikipedia: Black Sea bass
- Wikipedia: White seabass
- Wikipedia: European bass
- Sea Grant California: White Seabass
- Wikipedia: Patagonian toothfish
- Oceana: Patagonian Toothfish
- NOAA Fisheries: Chilean Sea Bass Frequently Asked Questions
- FDA: Advice about Eating Fish
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mercury accumulation in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) in a Florida lake
- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, mixed species, sea bass
- USDA: Chilean Sea Bass
- USDA: Chilean Seabass
- Nutrition Value: Chilean sea bass portions by Beaver Street Fisheries
- NutritionData: Fish, sea bass, mixed species, raw
- National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach
- Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure
- National Institutes of Health: Selenium
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure