Canary Rockfish

The Canary Rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) is a species of rockfish found on the Pacific Coast from south of Shelikof Strait in the eastern Gulf of Alaska to Punta Colnett in northern Baja California. They are found around reefs or soft bottoms at typical depths of 300 to 900 feet, and sometimes over 2500 feet.

The body of the Canary Rockfish is elongate, moderately deep and compressed with a large head. The color is yellow orange with gray mottling on the back and paler, near white, below. The fins are also yellow orange. The middle of the sides are in a clear, gray zone. There is often a black spot near the back of the first dorsal fin in fish shorter than 14 inches. The underside of the lower jaw of the canary rockfish has no scales and feels smooth to the touch when rubbed from back to front. It has a maximum recorded length of nearly 30 inches.

Juveniles feed on small crustacean such as krill larvae, copepods and amphipods, while adults eat krill and small fish. They have been an important commercial species since at least the early 1880s, with fisheries off San Francisco, California and Washington state. They are caught in trawling and hook and line operations, along with a variety of other fish such as yellowtail, lingcod, and other rockfishes. The numbers have declined in recent years, and Canaries are classified as over-fished.

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