The Alaska Fisheries Science Center website is now part of the NOAA Fisheries website.
Some information may not be up to date. Join us at our new location,
Please contact with any questions.

link to AFSC home page
Mobile users can use the Site Map to access the principal pages

link to AFSC home page link to NMFS home page link to NOAA home page

MESA: Pacific Ocean Perch

ABL Home
Marine Ecology & Stock Assessment
Stock Assessment
Pacific Ocean Perch:
Life History
Stock Structure
Stock Status
Nutrition & Value
Habitat Studies
Surveys & Field Studies
Marine Ecology
Division Activities:
Data Sets
Longline Survey Data
Reports & Activities
Adult Pacific ocean perch as seen from Delta submarine
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.

Dana Hanselman
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. 158:779792. 
  • 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).

See the publications and poster databases for additional listings.


To view and print these documents, you must install Adobe Acrobat Reader freeware.  Adobe also offers free tools for the visually disabled

            | Home | Site Map | Contact Us | FOIA | Privacy | Disclaimer | | Accessibility | Print |           doc logo