Caught incidentally in the commercial fishery off the Washington coast with otter-trawls, longline, and jig handline gear.
|10.57 lbs||Ben Phillips||Neah Bay||August 30, 1986|
Description and Range
Canary rockfish have an elongate, moderately deep and compressed body form. Adults are yellow orange, with gray mottling on the back and a grey or near white background. They have three bright orange diagonal stripes across their head, including on either side of their eye. The fins are yellow orange, and the anal fin is pointed with a rear edge that slants anteriorly. The caudal fin is strongly indented. In smaller individuals (less than 14 in), there is often a black spot near the back of the first dorsal fin. The canary rockfish resembles the vermilion rockfish, however captured individuals can be distinguished based on the lack of scales on the lower jaw of the canary. The underside of the lower jaw of the canary rockfish feels smooth when rubbed from back to front. Canary and vermillion are easily confused under water. The vermillion has fins edged in black, the rear edge of the anal fin is rounded and vertical, and the caudal fin is slightly indented with rounded tips.
Canary rockfish can grow up to 76 cm (30 in) in length. Maximum age is 84 years old.
Canary rockfish are found from the Gulf of Alaska south of Shelikof Strait, Alaska, to Cape Colnett, Baja California. Young fish tend to be found in shallower water depths than adults. Adults are most common at water depths from 80-200 m (254-660 ft), but have been found at depths of up to 838 m (2,765 ft). This species is typically associated with pinnacles and high relief rocks often in areas with high current, though they are occasionally encountered over open mud flats.
Sensitivity to climate change
The main sensitivity of canary rockfish to climate change is likely to stem from changes to their prey base. Warmer ocean conditions could lead to decreases in prey (e.g., copepods, crustaceans, euphausiid eggs) for both juveniles and adults, prompting decreases in adult fecundity and juvenile survival. Additionally, nearshore habitat loss due to sea level rise could impact juvenile survival, as juveniles tend to use nearshore habitat as nursery and foraging area. Deepwater coral habitat, which many adult rockfish use, may also decrease due to acidification, further reducing available habitat. Decreased oxygen levels may have direct physiological effects on canary rockfish, leading to higher levels of mortality across various life stages. Due to their long life cycles and generation times, adults may be able to persist through short term pulses of negative ocean conditions (e.g., years with warmer sea surface temperature), though conversely, their low productivity could make it difficult for populations to recover from climate-related declines.
Exposure to climate change
- Increased ocean temperatures
- Sea level rise
- Declines in pH
- Decreased oxygen
Rules and Seasons
The Puget Sound and Georgia Basin populations of canary rockfish are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and recreational retention in Puget Sound waters is prohibited.