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Bottomfish Identification: Rockfish

Rougheye Rockfish
Sebastes aleutianus

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

Description:  Underwater the body of the rougheye rockfish is pink, tan or brownish with brown or bronze blotches or saddles.  After capture they are pink or bright red with black or grey blotches.  Rougheye often have a dark blotch on the operculum.  They have fins that are red with black edges, especially in juveniles, and long, thin gill rakers on the first gill arch.  Rougheve rockfish are identifiable by the 2 to 10 spines that are on the lower rim of their eye. This species is most commonly confused with shortraker rockfish.

Maximum Size: To 97 cm (38 in) in length. 

Maximum Age: At least 205 years old.  Probably one of the longest lived fish species on earth!

Range/Habitat: Rougheye rockfish range from Japan into the Bering Sea, throughout the Aleutian Islands, and south to San Diego, California. In Washington most live at water depths between 150 and 450 m (495-1,485 ft).


  • Kramer, D. E., and V.M.  O'Connell, 1995. Guide to northeast Pacific rockfishes: genera Sebastes and Sebastolobus. Alaska Sea Grant College Program, University of Alaska.
  • Love, M. S., M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson, 2002. The rockfishes of the northeast Pacific. University of California Press.