Greenstriped Rockfish

Greenstriped Rockfish, Sebastes elongatus

The Greenstriped Rockfish, Sebastes elongatus, whose common Spanish name is rocote reina, is a species in the Rockfishes and Scorpionfishes or Scorpaenidae Family, known collectively as escorpiónes or lapóns in Mexico. Globally, there are one hundred twenty-four species in the genus Sebastes, forty nine of which are found in Mexican waters, all in the Pacific.

The Greenstriped Rockfish have elongated narrow bodies with a depth that is 30 to 34% of standard length. They have an overall pale reddish coloration and feature four horizontal stripes. A small percentage of the population is melanistic with black blotches on their sides. Their anal and pelvic fins are transparent, their caudal and dorsal fins are dusky, and their pectoral fin are dark red. Their head is modest in size and features medium-sized eyes. Their mouth is small and ends well before the eyes. They have small venom-secreting glands in their anal, dorsal, and pelvic spines. Their anal fin has 3 spines (the second and third being stout and the third being longer than the second) and 5 to 7 rays; their caudal fin is square to slightly lunate; their dorsal fin has 13 spines and 10 to 14 rays; their pectoral fins have 16 to 18 rays; and they have 28 to 33 gill rakers. Their body is covered with scales.

 The Greenstriped Rockfish reside in a wide variety of habitats including over cobblestone, rubble, and muddy bottoms at depths between 40 and 1,630 feet. They reach a maximum length of 49 cm (19 inches), with females being larger than males. They are bottom dwellers with more mature fish found in deeper waters. They are either solitary individuals or found within schools of other Rockfish. They feed on bottom dwelling crustaceans and small fish including amphipods, copepods, krill, and shrimp. In the Pacific Northwest they are preyed upon by Chinook and King Salmon. Females release between 11,000 and 300,000 eggs per annum. They have a lifespan of at least fifty-four years, however, very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Greenstriped Rockfish has a limited distribution being found from Cedros Island northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja.

The Greenstriped Rockfish is very straightforward to identify and cannot be confused with any other species due to the four green stripes on its sides.

The Greenstriped Rockfish are a small component of the West Coast commercial fishery with fish taken via gill nets, hook and line, and trawls then marketed fresh. They are also caught fairly frequently by recreational anglers in drift boats over rocky structures. They are considered a quality food fish, but have a short shelf life. They are frequently found in the Asian markets of Southern California but are small in stature, thus many are discarded at collection time.

Greenstriped Rockfish, Sebastes elongatus, juvenile. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater San Diego area, San Diego, California, October 2014. Length: 20 cm (7.9 inches).

Greenstriped Rockfish

Greenstriped Rockfish, Sebastes elongatus. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater San Diego area, San Diego, California, October 2014. Length: 32 cm (13 inches).