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redbanded rockfish

Because of its bright colors and bands, the redbanded rockfish (Sebastes babcocki) is also referred to as barber pole, hollywood, bandit, convict, canary, and Spanish flag, among others. A California and British Columbia fishery administer, John P. Babcock, was the inspiration for the babcocki name. This visually distinctive fish has a white or pale pink body with four orange or red vertical bands when viewed underwater. Two bands extend back across the craggy, rounded head, one from the eye and one near the upper jaw. The dorsal, anal, and pectoral fin rays may have dusky or black regions, frequently on the outer margins. This coloration is more common in younger redbandeds and is usually visible underwater, though occasionally this is true after capture. When out of water, their body is pink to red, with commonly red bands. The bands are more distinct in smaller redbands. Compared to the similar flag rockfish, the redbandeds are deeper-bodied (height: back-to-belly), and the first vertical band that originates at the front of the dorsal fin doesn't extend as far onto the gill cover. The flags have a thin head and a pointed snout. The tiger rockfish are also similar to the redbandeds, though they have five black or dark red vertical bands, rather than four.

redbanded rockfish

The redbanded rockfish are most abundant from Oregon to the Yakutat region of the northeast Gulf of Alaska, and commonly in the waters off central California. Their range extends from San Diego to the western Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. Trawl surveys have shown that most of the redbandeds are found at depths of 494 ft. to 1,155 ft. (150-350 m). They are often observed near hard bottom substrata, and may find shelter in the crevices between boulders. They are sometimes seen over mixed substrata of mud, cobblestones, and pebbles. Though they are solitary in nature, the redbandeds can be found in small groups.

This species has been aged to 106 years. The size and age at maturity can vary depending on their sex and location along the Pacific Coast. Maturity ages for both sexes can range between 3 years (off California) and 19 years (off British Columbia). Males appear to mature at a smaller size than females. Sizes at maturity can range from 9 in. (23 cm) for males and 11 in. (28 cm) for females (both off Oregon) to 17 in. (42 cm) for both sexes (off British Columbia). The period of larval release by the redbanded is from March to September, which is consistent throughout their range.

Most of the redbanded caught by the trawl and longline fisheries are incidental to other fisheries, such as that for yelloweye rockfish. They are considered to be moderately important to the commercial fisheries from Oregon to Alaska, and are sometimes taken as far south as central California. During the mid-1990s, a deepwater longline redbanded fishery was developed in British Columbia, where 280 tons were landed in 1995. Redbandeds are frequently sold in the southern California Asian markets under the name bandit. They are sometimes caught during deepwater recreational fishing.

Adapted from Love, M. 2002 Sebastes babcocki, p. 134-135. In M. S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson, The rockfishes of the northeast Pacific. Univ. California Press.

redbanded rockfish

AFSC Rockfish Guide