MESA: Rougheye Rockfish
Adult rougheye as seen from Delta submersible.
Rougheye rockfish (Sebastes aleutianus) inhabit the outer continental shelf and upper slope of the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Their distribution extends around the arc of the North Pacific from Japan to Point Conception, California and includes the Bering Sea. In the Gulf of Alaska, as adults they inhabit a narrow band along the upper continental slope at depths of 300-500 m; outside of this depth interval, abundance decreases considerably. Adults average around 40 cm in length and are likely the longest lived fish with a reported maximum age of 200 years.
Rougheye rockfish often co-occur with shortraker rockfish (Sebastes borealis) in trawl or longline hauls. Little is known about the biology and life history of rougheye rockfish, but the fish appear to have late maturation and slow growth. As with other Sebastes species, rougheye rockfish are presumed to be viviparous, where fertilization and incubation of eggs is internal and embryos receive at least some maternal nourishment. There have been no studies on fecundity of rougheye in Alaska. One study on their reproductive biology indicated that rougheye had protracted reproductive periods, and that parturition (larval release) may take place in December through April. Adults are known to inhabit particularly steep, rocky areas of the continental slope, with highest catch rates generally at depths of 300 to 400 m in longline surveys and at depths of 300 to 500 m in bottom trawl surveys and in the commercial trawl fishery. Food habit studies in Alaska indicate that the diet of rougheye rockfish is primarily shrimp (especially pandalids) and that various fish species such as myctophids are also consumed. Recent genetic studies indicate two distinct species, rougheye rockfish.
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
- RODGVELLER, C. J., M. F. SIGLER, D. H. HANSELMAN, and D. H. ITO.
2011. Sampling efficiency of longlines for shortraker and rougheye rockfish using observations from a manned submersible. Mar. Coastal Fish. 3:1-9. (.pdf, 379 KB). (Supplementary videos).
- CLAUSEN, D. M., and J. T. FUJIOKA.
2007. Variability in trawl survey catches of Pacific ocean perch, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish in the Gulf of Alaska, p. 411-428. 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.
- GHARRETT, A. J., A. P. MATALA, E. L. PETERSON, A. K. GRAY, Z. LI, and J. HEIFETZ.
2007. Distribution and population genetic structure of sibling rougheye rockfish species, p. 121- 140. 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 Rougheye rockfish SAFE report (.pdf).
- Center for Independent Experts Review of Rockfish Assessments (.pdf, 407KB).
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