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Bottomfish Identification: Rockfish

Redbanded Rockfish
Sebastes babcocki

Occasionally caught off the Washington coast by commercial harvesters using otter-trawls and longline gear.  Rarely caught by recreational harvesters within Puget Sound.  Recreational harvest within Puget Sound has been closed.  See the Sportfishing Regulation Pamphlet.

Description: Redbanded rockfish are a deep-bodied fish with a rounded head. Underwater they appear white or light pink with four darker red or orange vertical bars on the body (one on the caudal peduncle). The bars tend to be more prominent on smaller fish. The first bar extends from the front of the first dorsal fin to the base of the pectoral fin.  They have two oblique bands crossing their heads, one extending backward from the eye and the other near the upper jaw. Underwater and after capture some redbanded rockfish have black coloration on the dorsal, pectoral and anal fin rays.  After capture the body appears light pink to red and the bands are usually red. 

Maximum Size: To 65.5 cm (25.5 in) in length.

Maximum Age: At least 106 years.

Range/Habitat: Redbanded rockfish range from the Bering Sea and Amchitka Island, Alaska, to San Diego, California. They are found at water depths from 49 to 625 m (162-2,063 ft).  They are generally associated with hard bottoms where they shelter in crevices and amongst boulders. 


  • Love, M. S., M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson, 2002. The rockfishes of the northeast Pacific. University of California Press.

Photos: S. Axtell