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MESA: Shortraker Rockfish

ABL Home
Marine Ecology & Stock Assessment
Stock Assessment
Shortraker Rockfish:
Fishery & Assessment
Age & Growth
Program Activities:
Data Sets
Longline Survey Data
Reports & Activities
Adult shortraker as seen from Delta submarine
Adult shortraker as seen from Delta submersible.

Shortraker rockfish (Sebastes borealis) ranges from southeastern Kamchatka, north into the Bering Sea, through the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska, and south to southern California. The center of abundance appears to be Alaskan waters. Shortraker rockfish attains the largest size of all Sebastes, with a maximum reported total length of 120 cm. Little is known about the life history of shortraker rockfish. Genetic techniques have been used recently to identify a few post-larval shortraker rockfish from samples collected in surface waters far offshore in the Gulf of Alaska, which is the only documentation of habitat preference for this life stage. Few specimens of juvenile shortraker rockfish <35 cm fork length have ever been caught in the Gulf of Alaska, so information on this life stage is virtually unknown. Adults are concentrated in a narrow band along the 300-500 m depth interval of the continental slope. Much of this habitat is steep and difficult to trawl in the Gulf of Alaska, and observations from a manned submersible also indicate that shortraker rockfish seem to prefer steep slopes with frequent boulders. Shortraker rockfish is believed to be one of the longest-lived of all fish in the northeast Pacific, and some individuals may reach a maximum age >120 years.

Very large shortraker rockfish in the laboratory
Very large shortraker rockfish in the laboratory.

Dave Clausen
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).   Online.
  • 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. 
  • HAWKINS, S. L., J. HEIFETZ, C. M. KONDZELA, J. E. POHL, R. L. WILMOT, O. N. KATUGIN, and V. N. TUPONOGOV. 2005. Genetic variation of rougheye rockfish (Sebastes aleutianus) and shortraker rockfish (S. borealis) inferred from allozymes. Fish. Bull., U.S. 103:524-535. (.pdf, 430kb).  Online.
  • 2010 GOA Shortraker & Other Slope Rockfish SAFE report (.pdf).
  • Center for Independent Experts Review of Rockfish Assessments (.pdf, 407KB).

See the publications and poster databases for additional listings.


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