For more information on species & ecosystem science:

Wildlife Science

Fish Science

Habitat Science


Marine Toxic Contaminants

Species Monitored: Rockfish

Quillback Rockfish
(Sebastes maliger)
Copper Rockfish
(Sebastes caurinus)
Brown Rockfish
(Sebastes auriculatus)

Quillback, copper and brown rockfish are long-lived demersal predators, usually associated with rocky substrate. Because of their longevity[1] and high position in the food web, their probability of exposure to persistent bioaccumulative toxins is high. These fish have relatively restricted movements associated with seasonal migration for reproduction, suggesting that they will reflect regional patterns of contamination. In addition, evidence of contaminant exposure in these long-lived fish may be indicative of recent and historic environmental conditions in their habitats. Because they are captured and consumed by some anglers, these fish represent a food-web pathway through which contaminants can move from the environment to humans.

The Fish Component has monitored the presence and severity of toxic contaminants in these species from 1990 through 2001. Click for sampling locations.


  1. Age of oldest quillback, brown and copper rockfish collected by the Fish Component were estimated at 60, 46 and 27 years respectively.