Rougheye rockfish are among the longest-lived marine fish species on Earth, having been recorded as old as 205 years. Commonly marketed as “snapper,” Rougheye rockfish can be difficult to distinguish from several other species, especially its close cousin, the Shortraker rockfish. Indeed, there are more than 70 rockfish species in the eastern Pacific. Rougheye are named after their most distinguishing feature: spines along the lower rim of their eyes.
Rougheye rockfish have a bright red or pink body with black or gray patches. The pectoral fins are usually marked with black ends, giving it also the nickname “blacktip” rockfish. The species ranges from northern Japan and the Bering Sea down the North American coast to southern California. Its fillets are bright white with a delicate flavour.
Rougheye rockfish typically live at depths between 170 and 660 m (560 and 2,200 feet). They are found near the seafloor around caves, crevices and steeply sloped boulder fields surrounded by soft terrain. Their diet consists primarily of shrimp, but also crab, tiny crustaceans and other fish. Females spawn by releasing their larvae from egg-filled ovaries typically between February and June. This species is extremely long lived, slow growing and matures late in life. It is one of some 70 species in the Sebastes and Sebastolobus genus that live in the Pacific Ocean.
Bottom Longline with Hooks
This fishery uses a bottom longline that is baited with hooks and anchored to the ocean floor. A longline can be from 1 to 3 miles (1.6 to 5 km) long and have up to 2,000 hooks.