Black Rockfish

Black Rockfish (Sebastes melanops) as seen in our Rocky Shores exhibit.

The Black Rockfish can be found at depths of up to 1,200 feet (365 meters) but prefer mid-water and surface dwelling. The fish often gather together in huge schools, sometimes with other rockfish species including the Blue Rockfish.

They will rest on the ocean bottom at night, but during the day are aggressive feeders, often churning surface waters when hunting as a school. Tagging studies have shown that some Black Rockfish may travel hundreds of miles in search of prey.

The females are viviparous (the young grow inside the mother’s body, receive nutrients from her and are born as live fish). The young live as planktonic larvae for a number of months and then move to shallow kelp beds or tide pools to mature.  The Black Rockfish is an important species to sports fishermen in the Pacific Northwest.


They are abundant in coastal waters from the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska to southern California.

Conservation Status