Sharpchin rockfish (Sebastes zacentrus)

Category: Fish
Related species groups: Rockfish

Rarely caught by commercial harvesters off the Washington coast.

Description and Range

Physical description

The body of the sharpchin rockfish is elongate with a distinct knob at the tip of the lower jaw. Underwater they are white, pink or red and display 4 to 5 distinct brown or orange saddle marks. One of the most distinct marks is the forked bar (“<”) radiating back from the eyes. Once captured the saddle marks become less distinct although the forked bar is still recognizable. Sharpchin are often confused with Pacific Ocean perch. However, sharpchin rockfish have a second anal fin ray longer than the third and the suborbital bone may form a shelf below the nostrils.

Sharpchin rockfish can grow up to 45 cm (18 in) in length. Maximum age is at least 58 years old.

Geographic range

Sharpchin rockfish range from Semisopochnoi Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, to San Diego, California. They have been found at water depths of 25 to 495 m (83-1,632 ft), but are most common at depths of 100 to 300 m (330-990 ft). Adults are usually found over cobble-mud or boulder-mud bottoms.


Rules and seasons

Recreational harvest within Puget Sound has been closed.