Marine Management News Fish Identification Quiz
June 2005

Photo of species for June 2005 Fish Identification Quiz

This fish is something of a celebrity. Caught on April 3, 2003 near Carrington Point at Santa Rosa Island, it was tagged, released, and then recaptured over a year and a half later at the same location! Biologists call this tendency to stay in one area "residential" behavior. This species is thought to stake out a home territory of about 110 square feet on rocky sea floor, although this can vary in different areas. The color of the fish in this photograph is a bit unusual, but don't let that fool you. What species of rockfish is it?

This fish is a copper rockfish, Sebastes caurinus. Common names include chucklehead, and whitebelly rockfish. This fish is often an olive/dark brown/coppery pink color. If the red color had you thinking 'vermilion rockfish', look at the dorsal fin: long spines, deeply incised (compared to a vermilion rockfish), and none of the fins are edged in black, as you often find in the vermilion. According to rockfish authorities, bright-red copper rockfish are common off of California. Daily recreational bag limit: not more than 10 in combination with other RCG Complex species. Maximum recorded length: 26 in. Range: Gulf of Alaska to Baja California.

Photo of species for June 2005 Fish Identification Quiz

This fish was taken in 190 ft. of water at Short Bank in Santa Monica Bay. This dwarf species (yes, that's a hint!) of rockfish is a common sight for recreational fishermen in southern California, and has also made inroads into the area's live fish markets. What species of rockfish is it?

This fish is a honeycomb rockfish, Sebastes umbrosus. Common names include crotch cricket, and starry-eye. The green edging on the scales produces a distinctive honeycomb pattern. Daily recreational bag limit: not more than 10 in combination with other RCG Complex species. Maximum recorded length: 11.22 in. Range: central California to southern Baja California.

Photo of species for June 2005 Fish Identification Quiz

This fish, another dwarf species that nibbles on recreational fishermen's hooks, was taken off Santa Barbara. Due to its very small size, it's often discarded by recreational fishermen and is not even found in live fish markets. What species of rockfish is it?

This fish is a calico rockfish, Sebastes dalli. Named after the Smithsonian zoologist William H. Dall. Identified by reddish-brown bars slanting obliquely on a brown or yellowish-green body. The tail shows brown bars that run alongside the fin rays. Daily recreational bag limit: not more than 10 in combination with other RCG Complex species. Maximum recorded length: 8 in. Range: San Francisco to central Baja California, more common south of Pt. Arguello.

Photo of species for June 2005 Fish Identification Quiz

This fish, although small, is not a dwarf: it's a young rockfish, taken off Goleta Pier in southern California. Its grown-up counterparts are much sought-after by both recreational and commercial fishermen. Adults of this species have a recreational daily bag limit of two fish and a minimum size limit of 10 inches total length (that's a BIG hint! But, then, immature rockfishes aren't exactly easy to identify!). What species of rockfish is it?

This fish is a bocaccio, Sebastes paucispinis. Common names include salmon grouper, and mini-grouper. Young bocaccio are frequently taken in significant numbers off piers in central California. The large mouth extending almost past the eye is one characteristic that identifies this fish as a bocaccio. Daily recreational bag limit - 2 fish, statewide. Maximum recorded length: 36 in. Range: Alaskan Peninsula to Punta Blanca, Baja California.

Photo of species for June 2005 Fish Identification Quiz

And finally this fish, taken off Santa Rosa Island in approximately 120 ft of water. It has been very popular with recreational fishermen. Catch rates plummeted between 1980 and 1996 due to fishing pressure and oceanographic changes that did not favor the survival of young fish. What species of rockfish is it?

This fish is an olive rockfish, Sebastes serranoides. Common names include johnny bass, and jonathon. This species is often confused with yellowtail rockfish and kelp bass. Olive rockfish may be distinguished by the lack of dark speckling on the sides, and an often more elongate, bass-shaped body. Daily recreational bag limit: not more than 10 in combination with other RCG Complex species. Maximum recorded length: 24 in. Range: southern Oregon to San Benitos Is., Baja California.