Sebastes alutus

ALSO KNOWN AS Pacific ocean perch, POP

Rockfish is one of about 70 kinds of rockfish (Sebastes spp.) found from the Bering Sea to Baja California. It is one of the most important commercial species in the northeast Pacific and is the primary rockfish caught in Alaska rockfish fisheries. Rockfish meat is lean, fairly firm, and has a fine flake. It tastes delicate and nutty. Rockfish fillets should not appear brown, gray, or yellow. When whole, their skin should be shiny and bright. Occasionally, these fish will have bulging eyeballs – this is a result of being brought up from great depths, and not an indication of poor quality.

Their appearance includes light red skin with dark, olive-green areas on their back under the soft dorsal fin. This green patch also appears on the caudal peduncle (the narrow part of the body to which the tail is attached). They grow slowly and live for a long time (up to 98 years old) and reach 20 inches in length. Typically, adults weigh around 4 pounds.

Rockfish are often found from Southern California to the western Aleutian Islands. They are known as “slope fish” and primarily live in deeper waters of the upper continental slope and along the edge of the continental shelf. Adults prefer both sandy and rocky bottom habitats, areas with vertical relief, and bottom habitats with structure-forming invertebrates, such as corals. Adult rockfish form large schools, some reaching 100 feet wide, 260 feet deep, and 4000 feet long.

Rockfish are caught primarily in bottom trawl fisheries in Alaska waters. Fishermen also use pelagic trawls, which now account for about a third of the catch in the Gulf of Alaska. The majority of the annual catch is taken in the summer.

Coldfish’s rockfish are available for purchase fresh or frozen, and as fillets and portions. Custom cuttings are also available.