Tusk fish (Brosme brosme)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



The tusk fish Brosme brosme has an elongate body that can reach up to 1 m in length. It has a relatively small head with a flat lower jaw and a downward sloping head. A barbel is present on the chin. It has one continuous flat dorsal fin running from in line with the pectoral fin to the tail and one continuous flat anal fin running from the middle of the body to the tail. Both are narrowly joined to the small, rounded tail fin. The pelvic fin is mildly elongate. A lateral line is present and curved at the middle. The tusk fish is variable in colour, often brownish grey above and paler underneath. The pale dorsal and anal fins have a black band near the margins and have white rims.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found all around the coasts of Scotland, north-east England and off north-west Ireland.

Global distribution



The tusk fish is an offshore demersal species usually found at depths between 100 and 400 m, often on hard rocky ground.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Elongate, up to 1 m in length.
  • Continuous dorsal and anal fins narrowly joined to the tail.
  • Downward sloping head.
  • Barbel is present on the chin, equal in length to the eye diameter.

Additional information

Young specimens may have six transverse yellow bands on sides (Cohen et al., 1990).

Listed by

- none -


  1. Cohen, D.M., Inada, T., Iwamoto, T. & Scialabba, N., 1990. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform Fishes of the World. An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Cods, Hakes, Grenadiers and Other Gadiform Fishes Known to Date. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Fisheries Synopsies, 125

  2. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2008-02-18

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  4. Knijn, R.J., Boon, T.W., Heesen, H.J.L & Hislop, J.R.G., 1993. Atlas of North Sea Fishes. ICES cooperative research reports. ICES 194., Copenhagen

  5. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

  6. WoRMS 2007. The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). http://www.marinespecies.org, 2008-10-31


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-20


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Brosme brosme Tusk fish. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 20-05-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/150

Last Updated: 12/05/2008