Canary Rockfish

Canary Rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) as seen in our Rocky Shores exhibit.

As the name implies, Canary Rockfish are a stunningly colorful animal related to scorpionfish and thornyheads. They are usually bright orange and have three darker orange stripes across the head. The fins are yellow-orange and younger specimens will have a distinctive dark blotch at the rear of the spiny dorsal fin.

Canary Rockfish live in large, loosely formed but densely massed groups above the rocky ocean bottom. They often associate with yellowtail, widow and silver-gray rockfishes. Unlike other rockfish species which are voracious predators, the Canary Rockfish subsists mostly on a diet of plankton.

This species is also a sport fish. Longliners and salmon trollers often catch them but frequently discard them. They have a gas-filled swim bladder which expands and disables the fish as they are brought to the surface, thus they do not give the angler a struggle and are not considered challenging to catch.


Range & Habitat

The young can be found in tide pools. Adults are found down to 1400 feet (420 meters) but are seen most frequently at depths between 300 and 900 feet (91-274 meters). They can be found all along the Pacific coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California.


Conservation Status

Common.

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