The shortbelly rockfish (Sebastes jordani) is an abundant unexploited resource with centers of abundance in southern California and the San Francisco region of the west coast. A stock assessment model of this population was reviewed during June 28-30, 2006 at the SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division in Santa Cruz. This assessment does not currently bear on any significant fishery management decisions, but makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the natural (i.e., unfished) behavior of fish stocks as well as their role in the ecosystem as forage for fish, seabirds and mammals, and as competitors of other exploited rockfish species. The assessment confirmed that an unexploited resource can experience large natural fluctuations in abundance, in this case ranging from more than 50% above the estimated long-term equilibrium in the early 1950s to 50% below equilibrium currently. Notably, like many exploited west coast stocks, this unexploited stock also saw a very sharp decline in abundance during the 1990s.
The review panel consisted of Dr. Chris Francis (Center for Independent Experts reviewer, National Institute for Water and Atmosphere, New Zealand), Dr. George Watters (Protected Resources Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center), and Dr. William Lenarz (Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, retired). The data, model, results, and comments by external reviewers are available in the Technical Memorandum below. For more information, please contact Dr. John Field, Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center (John.Field@noaa.gov, tel. 831-420-3907).
Shortbelly rockfish assessment
NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC-405
(PDF file, 1.42 MB)