MESA: Pacific Ocean Perch
Adult Pacific ocean perch as seen from Delta
The Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) has a wide distribution in the North
Pacific from southern California around the Pacific rim to northern Honshu, Japan,
including the Bering Sea. Pacific ocean perch (POP) appears to be most abundant in northern British Columbia, the
Gulf of Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands. Adults are found primarily offshore on the outer continental
shelf and the upper continental slope in depths 150-420 m. Seasonal differences in depth distribution
have been noted by many investigators. In the summer, adults inhabit shallower depths, especially those
between 150 and 300 m. In the fall, adults apparently migrate farther offshore to depths of ~300-420 m.
They reside in these deeper depths until about May, when they return to their shallower summer distribution.
Their seasonal distribution pattern is probably related to summer feeding and winter spawning. Although small
numbers of Pacific ocean perch are dispersed throughout their preferred depth range on the continental
shelf and slope, most of the population occurs in patchy, localized aggregations. Pacific ocean perch
are generally considered to be semi-demersal, but there can be a significant pelagic component
to their distribution. Pacific ocean perch often move off-bottom at night to feed, apparently following
diel euphausiid migrations. Commercial fishing data in the Gulf of Alaska since 1995 show that pelagic
trawls fished off-bottom have accounted for as much as 20% of the annual harvest of this species.
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
Featured Research, Publications, Posters, Reports, and Activities
- KAMIN, L. M., K. J. PALOF, J. HEIFETZ, and A. J. GHARRETT.
2014. Interannual and spatial variation in the population genetic composition of young-of-the-year Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) in the Gulf of Alaska. Fish. Oceanogr. 23:1-17.
- PALOF, K. J., J. HEIFETZ, and A. J. GHARRETT.
2011. Geographic structure in Alaskan Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) indicates limited lifetime dispersal. Mar. Biol. 158:779–792.
- SPENCER, P., D. HANSELMAN, and M. DORN.
2007. The effect of maternal age of spawning on estimation of Fmsy for Alaska Pacific ocean perch, p. 513-533. In J. Heifetz, J. DiCosimo, A. J. Gharrett, M. S. Love, V. M. O'Connell, and R. D. Stanley (editors), Biology, Assessment, and Management of North Pacific Rockfishes. University of Alaska Sea Grant Program Report No. AK-SG-07-01, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
- 2010 GOA Pacific ocean perch SAFE report (.pdf).
- Center for Independent Experts Review of Rockfish Assessments (.pdf, 407KB).
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