The silvergray rockfish (Sebastes brevispinis)
is also called grouper, rock salmon, snapper, silverbelly, longjaw,
greenie, and silverside, among other names. It's
Latin name, brevispinis, means "short spine", which possibly
refers to its reduced head spines. This species is relatively slim with
silvery or tan sides, a back having green, dark gray, or brown coloring, and a
white or cream belly. The underside of the head and fins have pinkish
coloring. Some species have black spots on their skin. The
silvergrays can be confused with bocaccio
rockfish, which are normally red, pink, or brown-pink, often
having small dark spots. Bocaccio can also have a larger mouth,
and a weaker symphyseal knob at the tip of the lower jaws.
The range for silvergrays extends from the western Gulf of Alaska to
central Baja California and, most commonly, between the central Gulf of
Alaska and Oregon. They are mostly found at depths between 330 ft. and
990 ft. (100-300 m) and have been reported to occur between 0 ft. to
1,440 ft. (0-436 m). In Alaska, juveniles and subadults are sometimes
found in depths as shallow as 56 ft. (17 m). The young silvergrays have
been encountered in shallow embayments, often occurring in kelp beds.
Adult and subadults live over various rocky-bottom habitats and form
loose groups with other rockfishes, usually within a few feet off the
seafloor. Solitary individuals may sometimes be found resting on the
Silvergrays have been reported as large as 29.2 in. (73 cm), with the
males reaching maximum length before the females. At a given age,
females are larger than males after maturation. The silvergrays can
reach ages of 82 years or more. Spawning takes place in late
spring and summer resulting in white or cream-colored eggs. Normal
larval release occurs from about April to August, and possibly in almost
all months on rare occasions.
From British Columbia to Oregon, the silvergrays are important to the
commercial fisheries and are sometimes taken off northern California.
While many silvergrays are caught using hook and line, most are taken
with bottom trawls. They are significant as an incidental catch in
Alaska trawl and longline fisheries and are important as a recreational
catch. Silvergrays are occasionally shipped whole to the southern
California Asian markets.
Adapted from Love, M. 2002 Sebastes brevispinis, p. 138-139. In M. S. Love,
M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson, The rockfishes of the northeast Pacific. Univ. California Press.