Marine Management News Fish Identification Quiz
October 2011

October 2011 MMN Fish Quiz Photo; CDFW photo by Ed Roberts

Unlike most modern bony fishes, this type of fish mates, has internal fertilization of eggs, and bears live young. Larvae of this species are released from the female from October through March, but primarily in December and January, and spend 3 to 5 months drifting with the currents. Young fish (approximately 1.5 inches in length) settle in rocky nearshore habitat from April through June.

Younger fish mainly consume tiny crustaceans drifting with the currents. As they grow, they shift from eating plankton to feeding mostly on gelatinous forms of life such as tunicates and jellyfish, although squid, small rockfishes and even pelagic red crabs can be important prey for this species.

This species' range extends from Sitka Strait in southeast Alaska to Punta Santo Tomas in northern Baja California, but is most commonly found from Oregon to central California, from near the surface to depths of almost 300 feet. The maximum reported length for this type of fish is 21 inches; males have been aged to 44 years, and females to 41 years. Adult fish form schools segregated by size and sex. In central and southern California this fish is often found in association with olive rockfish and blacksmith. This species is primarily residential; tagging studies have shown movement of up to 27 miles, but most recaptured, tagged fish traveled very little, if at all.

This species was of relatively little importance in California's commercial fishery throughout most of the twentieth century; however, it now makes up a significant portion of the live-fish fishery. For recreational anglers, this species is one of the most important in California. It is usually the most frequently caught fish of this genus north of Point Conception for anglers fishing from skiffs and party/charter boats. It is also an important species for skin and scuba divers using spears, and is occasionally caught by anglers fishing from shore.

This fish is a blue rockfish, Sebastes mystinus. The daily bag and possession limit for blue rockfish is 10 fish within the RCG Complex bag limit of 10 rockfish, cabezon and greenlings in combination, per CCR Title 14, Section 28.55(b).