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Aurora rockfish, Sebastes aurora
                              


An aurora rockfish resting on the rocky seafloor.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Group


Species data: 
Aurora rockfish (Sebastes aurora) are white with pale pink to red saddles and blotches on their backs when underwater, changing to a more solid pink or red after capture. While little is known of their life history, individuals have been found that were age 75 years or older. It appears that both sexes mature around 5 years old. 

Auroras are a deepwater slope species (81-768 m) found over both hard and soft seafloor bottoms between British Columbia and central Baja California. They are moderately important in commercial fisheries from Washington to central California. 

Maximum size: 41 cm (16 inches). 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Aurora rockfish by vertebrae


 


An aurora rockfish uses marine mammal vertebrae as a shelter in Monterey Bay. 
Taken from the Delta submersible during the 2008 IMPACT cruise to determine baseline fish abundances inside and outside new marine protected areas off central California. 


Date: October 2008 
Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division, Habitat Ecology Team 



Species data: 
Aurora rockfish (Sebastes aurora) are white with pale pink to red saddles and blotches on their backs when underwater, changing to a more solid pink or red after capture. While little is known of their life history, individuals have been found that were age 75 years or older. It appears that both sexes mature around 5 years old. 

Auroras are a deepwater slope species (81-768 m) found over both hard and soft seafloor bottoms between British Columbia and central Baja California. They are moderately important in commercial fisheries from Washington to central California. 

Maximum size: 41 cm (16 inches). 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Bank rockfish, Sebastes rufus


                              



A bank rockfish resting on the rocky seafloor.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 
Bank rockfish (Sebastes rufus) are oval-shaped fish with small head spines. They can be brown, black-brown, pinkish brown, or nearly white, and are often covered with black spots. The pectoral, anal, and soft dorsal fin membranes are black, and many individuals have white saddle marks running down the back. A reliable character is the pink-orange or orange stripe along the lateral line, and there is a noticeable "<" mark behind the eye. 

Banks are found from British Columbia to central Baja California, and live in depths between 31 and 454 meters. They are taken commercially with trawl and gillnet, with most of the catch from California. Banks are a frequent catch of recreational anglers in deepwater off southern California.

Alternate common name: Red widow, bank perch, Florida. 
Maximum size: 55.2 cm (21.7 inches). 
Maximum age: At least 85 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Bank rockfish on sponge


 


A bank rockfish sits atop a vase sponge in Soquel Canyon, Monterey Bay. 
Taken from the Delta submersible during the 2008 IMPACT cruise to determine baseline fish abundances inside and outside new marine protected areas off central California. 


Date: October 2008 
Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division, Habitat Ecology Team 



Species data: 
Bank rockfish (Sebastes rufus) are oval-shaped fish with small head spines. They can be brown, black-brown, pinkish brown, or nearly white, and are often covered with black spots. The pectoral, anal, and soft dorsal fin membranes are black, and many individuals have white saddle marks running down the back. A reliable character is the pink-orange or orange stripe along the lateral line, and there is a noticeable "<" mark behind the eye. 

Banks are found from British Columbia to central Baja California, and live in depths between 31 and 454 meters. They are taken commercially with trawl and gillnet, with most of the catch from California. Banks are a frequent catch of recreational anglers in deepwater off southern California.

Alternate common name: Red widow, bank perch, Florida. 
Maximum size: 55.2 cm (21.7 inches). 
Maximum age: At least 85 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Blue rockfish, Sebastes mystinus


                              



A blue rockfish uncharacteristically resting on the rocky seafloor.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus) are oval and have almost no head spines. Older juveniles and adults are blue-black or gray-blue and heavily mottled with dark gray or black. Two dark stripes run down and back from the eye. They resemble both black rockfish and dark dusky rockfish.

 


Blues range from southeast Alaska to northern Baja California, with most occurring from near the surface to depths of about 90 meters. They are a significant component of the live-fish fishery in California, and have long been a major target of recreational fishermen from northern Oregon to southern California.

 


Alternate common name: Blue bass.  
Maximum size: 53 cm (21 inches). 
Maximum age: At least 44 years.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Bocaccio, Sebastes paucispinis


                              



A bocaccio cruising above the rocky seafloor.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis) are long, laterally compressed fish with large mouths. The lower jaw extends well beyond the upper and has a prominent knob on the end. Color and markings vary with age and among individuals, with adults generally being pink, pink-brown, gray, or red. 

Bocaccio have been found from the Alaska Peninsula to central Baja California. Juveniles are found in shallow water, and adults have been recorded from 12 to 478 meters. Historically, bocaccio have been important in both commercial and recreational fisheries along much of the Pacific coast. There was a severe population decline in the 1980s and 1990s, but numbers are now increasing again. 

Alternate common name: Grouper, salmon grouper. 
Maximum size: 91 cm (36 inches), about 6.8 kg (15 pounds).
Maximum age: Unknown, but possibly 50 years or more. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Bronzespotted rockfish, Sebastes gilli


                              



A bronzespotted rockfish over rocky substrate and crinoids.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Bronzespotted rockfish (Sebastes gilli) are deep-bodied and spiny fishes, with sharply upturned mouths. They are red, orange, or yellow-orange with dark spotting, blotching, or loose vermiculations on the back and sides. The backs and sides may be splotched with white. Three similarly colored lines radiate from the eyes, two backward and one downward.

 


Bronzespotteds range from central California to northern Baja California at depths of 75 to 413 meters. They form a minor part of the southern California commercial fishery and are taken primarily by gillnet and hook and line. Recreational fishermen catch a few bronzespotted rockfish in deepwater, usually over 200 meters.

 


Alternate common name: Arkansas red, warthog.  
Maximum size: 71.2 cm (27.8 inches). 
Maximum age:  At least 47 years.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Brown rockfish, Sebastes auriculatus


                              



A brown rockfish over rocky substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

The brown rockfish (Sebastes auriculatus) is a heavy-bodied species colored various shades of brown with dark brown, red-brown, or blackish mottling. There is a prominent dark blotch on the rear part of the gill cover, and red-brown, brown, or orangish stripes radiate back from the eyes and upper jaw. 

Browns range from the Gulf of Alaska to southern Baja California, and occur from very shallow inshore water to 135 meters. They are of moderate importance to the fresh fish commercial industry, and of considerable significance in the commercial live-fish fishery. In the recreational fishery, it is of particular importance in Puget Sound and from Bodega Bay to northern Baja California. 

Alternate common name: Bolina, chocolate bass. 
Maximum size: 56 cm (22.4 inches). 
Maximum age: At least 34 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Chameleon rockfish, Sebastes phillipsi


                              



Several chameleon rockfish over deep, rocky substrate and sea urchins.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Chameleon rockfish (Sebastes phillipsi) exhibit a distinctive color change upon capture, going from whitish pink when first brought to the surface to golden crimson upon death and exposure to air. Distinctive characters are prominent knobs on the upper jaw, several large, forward-pointing spines above the upper jaw, and 2-4 spines under the eye.

 


Chameleons have been found from northern California to southern California at depths between 174 and 274 meters. They are occasionally taken in the gillnet and hook-and-line commercial fishery, and recreational fishermen catch a few in deeper water.

 


Alternate common name: Orange rockfish.  
Maximum size: 52 cm (20.3 inches).  
Maximum age: Oldest known specimen estimated to be about 53 years old.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Chilipepper, Sebastes goodei


                              



A solitary chilipepper over deep, rocky substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Chilipepper (Sebastes goodei) are elongate fish with reduced head spines. Adults are brown or pink-red on the back and pink on the sides. Adult chilis might be confused with bocaccio when underwater, but bocaccio have much larger mouths.

 


Chilis range from British Columbia to southern Baja California, with older juveniles and adults most common at depths from about 75 to 325 meters. They form a sizable part of both the recreational and commercial fisheries of California, primarily south of Cape Mendocino. Commercial fishermen catch chilis with trawls, gillnets, and hook and line.

 


Alternate common name: Chili, johnnies, johnny cod, red snapper.  
Maximum size: 59 cm (23 inches).  
Maximum age: 35 years.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Copper rockfish, Sebastes caurinus


                              



A solitary copper rockfish over rocky substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Copper rockfish (Sebastes caurinus) are relatively deep bodied and spiny. Older juveniles and adults exhibit a wide range of blotchy colors, although the light-colored strip along the rear two-thirds of the lateral line is constant. Several copper orange, brown, or yellowish bars radiate back from the eyes. 

Coppers range from the northern Gulf of Alaska to central Baja California, found from barely subtidal waters to 183 meters. They have been an important commercial species from southeast Alaska to San Diego, and form a major part of the shallow-water recreational rockfish catch from the Gulf of Alaska to central California. 

Alternate common names: Whitebelly, chucklehead. 
Maximum size: 66 cm (26.4 inches). 
Maximum age: At least 50 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Cowcod, Sebastes levis
                              


A cowcod over high-relief rocky substrate and crinoids.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 
The cowcod (Sebastes levis) is easily distinguished from most other species, with a large head, relatively small eyes, and deeply incised dorsal fin. Juveniles are white or cream-colored, with intense dark vertical bars. These bars become more diffuse and indistinct with age, although even very large individuals retain remnant bars. Adult cowcod are cream, white, pink, dark yellow, golden, or salmon hued. 

Cowcod range from Oregon to central Baja California at depths of 40-491 meters, with adults most abundant in water deeper than 150 meters. They were an important commercial species in the past, but both commercial and recreational catches declined markedly in the 1990s. 

A cowcod conservation area was designated in January 2001 off southern California. This is one of the largest marine protected areas along the West Coast, prohibiting the take of most groundfish species. 

Maximum size: 94 cm (37 inches), 13 kg (28.5 pounds). 
Maximum age: At least 55 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Cowcod off Big Creek


 


A cowcod seen off Big Sur on California's central coast. 
Taken from the Delta submersible during the 2008 IMPACT cruise to determine baseline fish abundances inside and outside new marine protected areas off central California. 


Date: September 2008 
Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division, Habitat Ecology Team 



Species data: 
The cowcod (Sebastes levis) is easily distinguished from most other species, with a large head, relatively small eyes, and deeply incised dorsal fin. Juveniles are white or cream-colored, with intense dark vertical bars. These bars become more diffuse and indistinct with age, although even very large individuals retain remnant bars. Adult cowcod are cream, white, pink, dark yellow, golden, or salmon hued. 

Cowcod range from Oregon to central Baja California at depths of 40-491 meters, with adults most abundant in water deeper than 150 meters. They were an important commercial species in the past, but both commercial and recreational catches declined markedly in the 1990s. 

A cowcod conservation area was designated in January 2001 off southern California. This is one of the largest marine protected areas along the West Coast, prohibiting the take of most groundfish species. 

Maximum size: 94 cm (37 inches), 13 kg (28.5 pounds). 
Maximum age: At least 55 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Dwarf-red rockfish, Sebastes rufinanus


                              



A couple of dwarf-red rockfish over high-relief rocky substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Dwarf-red rockfish (Sebastes rufinanus) is a dwarf species. After capture it is dusky-red dorsally, fading to bright red on the belly.

 


Maximum size: 17 cm (6.8 inches). 
Maximum age: At least 8 years.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Flag rockfish, Sebastes rubrivinctus


                              



A flag rockfish over high-relief rocky substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Flag rockfish (Sebastes rubrivinctus) are white with four vertical red or orange bands. There are also two bands on the head, one extending down from the eye, the other running toward the upper jaw. The caudal fin is red with a white border, and the soft rays of the dorsal and anal fins may be dusted with small black spots.

 


Flags have been reliably reported from Oregon to central Baja California in depths from 30 to 418 meters. They are of moderate importance in the southern and central California commercial fishery, where they are taken by gillnet and hook and line. They are also a moderate part of the recreational catch, as their brilliant coloration makes them a popular species.

 


Alternate common name: Spanish flag, barberpole.  
Maximum size: 44 cm (17.2 inches).  
Maximum age: At least 38 years.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Freckled rockfish, Sebastes lentiginosus


                              



A freckled rockfish over muddy substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Freckled rockfish (Sebastes lentiginosus) are squat and spiny. Underwater this species is often brown or brown-orange with a dark dorsal area and dark brown or green vermiculations and freckling on the back and head.

 


Freckled rockfish are found from central California to southern Baja California, and have been taken at depths of 36 to 290 meters. This diminutive species does not enter the U.S. commercial fishery and is taken only incidentally by recreational fishermen.

 


Maximum size: 23 cm (9 inches).  
Maximum age: At least 22 years.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Greenspotted rockfish, Sebastes chlorostictus


                              



A greenspotted rockfish swimming in the water column.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Greenspotted rockfish (Sebastes chlorostictus) are squat and spiny, colored pink on the dorsal surface gradually changing to yellow on the lower sides. They have many green spots above the lateral line and on the top of the head, several alternating yellow and pink bars radiating back from the eyes, and 3-5 white or pinkish-white blotches on the back. 

Greenspotted rockfish occur from Washington to southern Baja California at depths of 30-363 meters. This is a moderately important species in the commercial fisheries of central and northern California and quite important in southern California. 

Alternate common names: Bosco, chucklehead. 
Maximum size: 47.2 cm (18.9 inches). 
Maximum age: At least 33 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Greenstriped rockfish, Sebastes elongatus


                              



A greenstriped rockfish resting on mixed substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Greenstriped rockfish (Sebastes elongatus) are slim with a distinctive color pattern and are unlikely to be mistaken for any other species. The background body coloration of both juveniles and adults range from white to reddish with four very distinct horizontal green stripes. 

Greenstriped rockfish are found from the Gulf of Alaska to central Baja California, most commonly at depths between about 100 and 250 meters. They are commonly taken in commercial fisheries from British Columbia to at least southern California, and are often caught in the central and southern California recreational fishery. In both cases they are frequently discarded because of their small size. 

Alternate common names: Cucumber, watermelon, poinsettias, chili, garnet. 
Maximum size: 43 cm (15.6 inches). 
Maximum age: About 54 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Honeycomb rockfish, Sebastes umbrosus


                              



A honeycomb rockfish resting on high-relief rock substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Honeycomb rockfish (Sebastes umbrosus) are relatively squat and spiny, colored orange-brown, light orange, or pink-yellow. The brown or olive green edging to the scales, found primarily below the lateral line, gives the body the characteristic "honeycomb" pattern. There are large dark areas between the lateral line and dorsal fins, and 4-6 light blotches on the back.

 


Honeycombs have been found from central California to southern Baja California in 30 to 270 meters of water. They are rare in the commercial fishery due to their small size, but with the decline of larger rockfish species, honeycombs are now common in the recreational catch off southern California and northern Baja California.

 


Alternate common name: Yellow rockfish.  
Maximum size:  28.5 cm (11.3 inches).  
Maximum age: At least 31 years.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Kelp rockfish, Sebastes atrovirens


                              



A kelp rockfish swimming over high-relief rock substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) adults are tan to kelp-colored, but coloration can vary from nearly white to mottled brown, green to black-brown, and even reddish. The head and dorsal area are often darker than the rest of the body, and several faint streaks may extend back from the eye and jaw. 

Kelp rockfish are found from northern California to central Baja California. They are most common from the shallow subtidal to 18-24 meters, the lower level of giant kelp habitat. Individuals commonly hang motionless near kelp fronds during the day, but also rest on the bottom or in crevices. 

Kelp rockfish became an important part of the nearshore live-fish fishery in the early 1990s, and are commonly harvested by recreational anglers and divers from central California to northern Baja California. 

Alternate common name: Sugar bass. 
Maximum size: 42.5 cm (16.8 inches). 
Maximum age: At least 25 years, but few seem to be older than 20 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Olive rockfish, Sebastes serranoides


                              



An olive rockfish swimming over high-relief rock substrate.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Olive rockfish (Sebastes serranoides) are streamlined fish with almost no head spines. The body is dark brown or dark green-brown on the back and light brown or green-brown on the sides. There are a series of light blotches on the back, and the fins range from olive to bright yellow.

 


Olive rockfish occur from southern Oregon to central Baja California, in barely subtidal water to 172 meters. They form a minor part of the commercial fishery in central and southern California, but are particularly important in the recreational fishery from central California to the northern Channel Islands.

 


Alternate common name: Johnny bass, greenie.  
Maximum size: 61 cm (24 inches).  
Maximum age: At least 30 years.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Pink rockfish, Sebastes eos


                              



A pink rockfish resting on the seafloor.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Pink rockfish (Sebastes eos) are squat, stout, and spiny. Adults are orange (not pink) or almost white with backs that lack distinct spots or vermiculations. The dorsal area usually has a faint dusting of brown or green. The dorsal fin is white or light pink and they have five light blotches on the back. The soft dorsal, caudal, and anal fins are rimmed in white.

 


Pink rockfish have been taken from central Oregon to southern Baja California at depths of 45 to 366 meters. They are moderately important in the southern California commercial fishery and are primarily taken by gillnet and hook and line. Recreational fishing in deepwater also yields a few fish.

 


Alternate common name: Bosco, chucklehead, dawn rockfish, santa maria, starry eye, warthog.  
Maximum size: 56 cm (22 inches).  
Maximum age: Difficult to age, but one large individual was estimated to be 52-82 years old.

 


From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Vermilion rockfish, Sebastes miniatus


                              



A vermilion rockfish swimming over the rocky seafloor.


Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team 


Species data: 

Vermilion rockfish (Sebastes miniatus) adults range from brown, dark yellow, lemon yellow, orange, and red to red-black, usually with some gray or black mottling on the sides. Adults often have prominent white markings, particularly along the lateral line, across the head behind the eyes, and at the base of the third and fourth dorsal spines. 

Vermilion rockfish are found from Prince William Sound, Alaska, to central Baja California, most commonly at depths in the 50-150 meter range. They are highly prized in both the recreational and commercial fisheries between northern California and northern Baja California. 

Maximum size: 76 cm (30 inches), 6.8 kg (15 pounds). 
Maximum age: At least 60 years. 

From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.


Widow rockfish school


 


A school of widow rockfish swims in Soquel Canyon, Monterey Bay. 
Taken from the Delta submersible during the 2008 IMPACT cruise to determine baseline fish abundances inside and outside new marine protected areas off central California. 


Date: October 2008 
Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division, Habitat Ecology Team