Rosethorn rockfish (Sebastes helvomaculatus)

Rosenthorn rockfish
Rosethorn rockfish
Category: Fish
Related species groups: Rockfish

Commonly caught off the Washington coast by commercial harvesters using otter-trawls and longline gear. Occasionally caught by recreational harvesters off the Washington coast.

Description and Range

Physical description

The rosethorn is a small slender rockfish species with a large eye relative to its head size. Its color varies underwater. Most often they are pink, orange or yellow with greenish mottling dorsally, lightening ventrally, and have yellow to greenish striping. Fins are all pink, green or yellow. They have 4 to 5 white blotches tinged or bordered with light pink on their back. Upon capture rosethorn are yellow-orange with yellow on the back and dorsal fins. After a few minutes their color turns to red-orange, orange, yellow-orange or pink sometimes with green mottling on their back.

Rosethorn rockfish can grow up to 41 cm (16 in) in length. Maximum age is at least 87 year old.

Geographic range

Rosethorn rockfish range from Sitkinak Island, western Gulf of Alaska, to Guadalupe Island, Baja California. In Puget Sound they are found at water depths of 25 to 549 m (983-1,800 ft). Rosethorn strictly stay close to or on the bottom and adults are commonly found resting on mud, cobble, boulders or other hard material.


Rules and seasons

Recreational harvest within Puget Sound has been closed.