Vermilion Rockfish

Sebastes miniatus

Vicky Okimura, WDFW

The Science

Typically bright red in color, but smaller fish have more dark mottling.

The Fishery

Catch is largely recreational; but there is a modest commercial fishery under the State Shelf Fishery Program

The Seafood

Tough to cut into, but easy to roast whole

The Science

Vermilion Rockfish
Kevin Lee

Taxonomic description

  • Known for its striking vermilion shade, this rockfish is also known to have some gray or white mottling along the side [1]
  • On smaller fish, the mottling is more apparent, as seen in the image above [1]
  • These fish have a large mouth, with a lower jaw that protrudes beyond the smaller upper jaw [1]
  • Unlike similar species of rockfish, the Vermilion Rockfish have scales garnering their lower jaw [1]
  • They usually grow to be between 35.56 and 55.88 cm (14 and 22 in), but the largest ever recorded was 76.2 cm (30 in) [1]

Distribution

  • Found all along the Northern Hemisphere’s Pacific Coast, from Prince William Sound, Alaska to San Benito Island, Baja California [1]
  • More common along the northern part of the coast than southern [2]
  • Typically found at depths of around 100 to 500 feet (30 to 150 meters) [1]

Life history

  • Average 22 years max lifespan; Mature at 5-6 years, 14 inches (42 cm)[1, 2]
  • Larger fish contain more eggs: a 54.6 cm (21.5 inch) fish is expected to have ~1,600,000 eggs [1]
  • December-March mating period; internal fertilization with live young [1]

Habitat

  • Live amongst rocks at the bottom of reefs, and in other large rocky patches [2]
  • Sometimes found in small schools [2]
  • Eats zooplankton, cephalopoda (squid and relatives), white croaker, krill (Genyonemus lineatus) [11]
  • Predators information not found

The Fishery

Vermilion Rockfish fishery
Theresa Talley, CA Sea Grant

Seasonal availability

  • Commercial fishery is  open May 1 – February 28/29 [13]
  • No more than 1,500 lb (680 kg)/ 2 months for entire commercial fishery [13]

Managing authority

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, under the Federal Groundfish Fisheries Management Plan and is considered a “shelf”, or deeper water, rockfish [2,6]

Gear type

  • Caught in longline gear, as incidental catch in otter trawls [2], traps, and hook and line with other shelf fish [10]

Status of the fishery

  • Aside from overarching Rockfish Conservation Areas and general rockfish regulations, few regulations specified to Vermilion Rockfish [3]
  • In southern California, typically caught as incidental take in Bocaccio rockfish fishery [12]; only 74 lbs (33.5kg) caught in 2007 in San Diego [4]; classified by NOAA as a “minor shelf rockfish” fishery category [13]
  • Current lack of concern for stocks; considered “healthy”; leads to large recreational fish [5,7]
  • High abundance; in 2005, listed seventh most abundant in California [14]

Potential ecosystem impacts

  • This species is incidental take, so no ecosystem impacts from otter trawls that can be attributable to this species
  • Use of demersal (seafloor) longline gear have some localized impact from placing and removing the gear [15]

The Seafood

Vermilion Rockfish seafood
Jennifer Causey, my recipes.com

Edible portions

  • Meat (muscle)

Description of meat

  • Lean meat with a nutty flavor, medium or firm texture [9]

Culinary uses

  • Obtained whole and fresh [9]
  • Roasted or deep-fried whole, often with vegetables [8,9]
  • Commonly cooked to try a unique dish; may be roasted, baked, batter fried, or steamed [17]

Nutritional information 

  • While typically cooked whole, serving size is per fillet [18]
  • Information specific to Vermilion Rockfish could not be found; listed is the information for rockfish as a general category [18]
  • Good source of Vitamin D; 6.9 micrograms per serving, or 46% of the daily value for a 2000 calorie diet [19]

Toxicity report

  • Listed as a medium mercury species of rockfish; between 2 and 4 servings per week considered safe [16]

Seasonal availability

  • May - February [13]

References

[1] California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2013. California Marine Sportfish Identification: Rockfish. Web. https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Fish-ID/Sportfish/Rockfish#vermilion. Accessed: 13 April 2017.

[2] Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2017. Fishing and Shellfishing: Bottomfish. Web. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/bottomfish/identification/rockfish/s_miniatus.html. Accessed: 13 April 2017.

[3] NOAA Fisheries. 2017. Rockfish Conservation Areas. Web. http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/management/groundfish_closures/rockfish_areas.html. Accessed: 13 April 2017.

[4] California Department of Fish and Game. 2007. Poundage and Value of Landings By Port, San Diego Area During 2006. CFIS Tables16_21_pub. California Natural Resources Agency, California Department of Fish and Game, San Diego, California, United States of America.

[5] California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2017. Summary of Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations for 2017. Web. https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#south. Accessed: 29 April 2017.

[6] NOAA Fisheries. 2017. Rockfish Conservation Areas. Web. http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/management/groundfish_closures/rockfish_areas.html. Accessed: 29 April 2017.

[7] NOAA Fisheries. 2017. Yelloweye and other Rockfish Species of Concern. Web. https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish/Species-Of-Concern. Accessed: 29 April 2017.

[8] True, M. 2016. Roasted Rockfish with Artichokes, Citrus, and Lemon-Caper Browned Butter. Web. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-rockfish-artichokes-citrus-lemon-caper-browned-butter. Accessed: 29 April 2017.

[9] The Cookingfishmonger. 2016. Rockfish Facts. Web. http://www.cookingfishmonger.com/rockfish-facts.html. Accessed: 29 April 2017.

[10] The Dockside Market. 2017. Tuna Harbor Dockside Market: Rockfish, Shelf. Web. http://thdocksidemarket.com/new/#species. Accessed: 15 May 2017.

[11] Encyclopedia of Life. n. d. Sebastes miniatus: Vermilion Rockfish. Web. http://eol.org/pages/211616/details. Accessed: 29 April 2017.

[12] Encyclopedia of Life. n. d. Sebastes miniatus. Web. http://www.eol.org/data_objects/32082293. Accessed: 29 April 2017.

[13] NOAA Fisheries. 2017. Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast Sates; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2017-2018 Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Amendment 27. RIN 0648-BG17. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, San Diego, California, United States of America.

[14] California Department of Fish and Game. 2005. Review of some California fisheries for 2004: Coastal pelagic finfish, market squid, sea urchin, lobster, spot and ridgeback prawn, groundfish, highly migratory species, ocean salmon, nearshore live-fish, pacific herring, and recreational. CalCOFI Rep., 46:10–31.

[15] DFO. 2010. Potential impacts of fishing gears (excluding mobile bottom-contacting gears) on marine habitats and communities. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2010/003.

[16] California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. n. d. A Guide to Eating Fish from the California Coast. Web. https://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/advisories/californiacoastaladvisoryposter110916.pdf. Accessed: 15 May 2017.

[17] Shaw, H. 2017. All About Pacific Rockfish or Rock Cod. Web. https://www.thespruce.com/all-about-pacific-rockfish-rock-cod-1300825. Accessed: 15 May 2017.

[18] SELFNutritionData. 2014. Fish, rockfish, Pacific, mixed species, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories. Web. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4096/2. Accessed: 15 May 2017.

[19] Stein, N. n. d. Nutritional Information Data on Rockfish. Web. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutritional-information-data-rockfish-1433.html. Accessed: 15 May 2017.