Alaska Species Explorer

Yelloweye Rockfish

Common Name: Yelloweye Rockfish, occasionally Red Snapper, Red Rock Cod
Scientific Name: Sebastes ruberrimus
Size: Up to 91cm (36in), 18kg (40lb)
Distribution: Aleutian Islands south of Umnak Island to northern Baja California

While habitat varies with age, adults of this species are found in areas of high-relief and around boulder piles typically at depths of 300-1200.

Life History:

Yelloweye rockfish do not mature until around 20 years of age.  Internal fertilization allows the egg to be protected within the body of the female while they develop.  Larger, older female produce more eggs.  The eggs hatch while still inside the female and are released as free swimming larvae.

Diet in the Wild: Demersal (bottom dwelling) invertebrates and other fishes
Natural Predators: Other fish
Population Status:

Alaskan populations are healthy but continue to be carefully managed.  In 2002 the National Marine Fisheries Service declared that west coast yelloweye rockfish were overfished and in 2010 Puget Sound and Georgia Basin populations were listed as threatened.  Because the number of eggs produced increases with age, catching the larger, older females can be especially detrimental to the population.  It is believed that overfishing is the primary cause of these reduced populations.

Additional Information:

Similar species include Canary Rockfish, Rougheye Rockfish, Shortraker Rockfish, Blackspotted Rockfish

Did you know?:
  • Yelloweye rockfish are one of the longest lived of all fish species with a lifespan of up to 120 years.
  • Like many rockfish species, yelloweye juveniles look dramatically different from their adult counterpart and were once thought to be 2 separate species.
  • There are 100 species of rockfish found in the north Pacific, 32 of which are found in Alaskan waters.  We have 12 species at the Alaska SeaLife Center.