Sebastes rufus, the bank rockfish, is a slow-growing, mid-water rockfish found at depths up to 450 m over hard bottoms or along banks and ledges off the west coast of North America, most commonly between central Oregon and central Baja, California, but also up into Washington state. The bank rockfish is dusky light red to gray (southern specimens have black spots on back and dorsal fin) and the membranes on the soft dorsal, anal, and pectoral fins are blackish. The red-widow (found in central California) is redder in color, and does not have any black coloration, and may represent an as-yet undescribed species (AFCS 1998). Similar species are the speckled rockfish (S. ovalis), the square spot rockfish (S. hopkinsi), the widow rockfish (S. entomelas), and the yellowtail rockfish (S. flavidus). The biology and life history of S. rufus is poorly known. Adults prefer deeper waters >100 m, juveniles are found in shallower waters. Bank rockfish are winter spawners, and probably multiple brooders. Little is known about the diet of the bank rockfish, they are generally believed to eat zooplankton, krill, and small fish.
Bank rockfish have generally been classed as unspecified in fisheries management studies, so their stock size is not well determined, but research indicates a declining population since the 1980s as the result of fishing, mostly using trawls and gillnets. Piner et al. 2000 cite a lack of data needed to properly assess this fish stock, and call for better survey techniques since this fish lives in areas difficult to trawl, data allowing close examination of the stock structure, separating this species from others into their own market category to allow greater certainty of specific catch information, and collection of more life history data from adults and juveniles, at multiple locations along the California coast.
(AFSC 1998; Eschmeyer et al. 1983; Piner et al. 2000.)
- AFSC guide to rockfishes, 1998. Bank rockfish, Sebastes rufus. Adapted from Orr, J.W., M.A. Brown, and D.C. Baker. 1998. Guide to Rockfishes (Scorpaenidae) of the Genera Sebastes, Sebastolobus, and Adelosebastes of the Northeast Pacific Ocean. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-95, 46 p. Retrieved July 19, 2014 from http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/groundfish/RockfishGuide/Rockfish_Pages/Bank_rockfish.htm
- Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 336 p.
- Piner, K., M. Schirripa, T. Builder, J. Rogers and R. Methot, 2000. Bank rockfish (Sebastes rufus) stock assessment for Eureka, Monterey and Conception INPFC areas north of Pt. Conception. National Marine Fisheries Service. Retrieved July 19, 2014 from http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Bank_Rockfish_2000_Assessment.pdf.
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