Tilefish (aka "Clown of the Sea") are a long-lived and slow growing deep-water fish. Golden tilefish tend to be larger and live longer than other tilefish. Factors that include a narrow geographical range and susceptibility to physical changes in the environment make golden tilefish vulnerable to fishing pressure.
Golden tilefish are found primarily in the Mid-Atlantic as well as in the South Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. The South Atlantic stocks are above target population levels, and the stock in the Gulf of Mexico is considered stable. In 1998, Mid-Atlantic golden tilefish were declared overfished but have since shown signs of recovery. A 2011 assessment indicated that the Mid-Atlantic population was 4% above the target, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported scientific concern about uncertainty with the assessment model.