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Magnificent Rockfish

Rockfish are magnificent. It says so right in their scientific name. The genus name for rockfish – Sebastes – comes from Sebastos, which is Greek for “magnificent”. But what, exactly, makes this group of fish so magnificent?


  Rockfish babies don't hatch from eggs. They're born live, ready to swim! A baby quillback rockfish staying close to a cloud sponge

Rockfish live a long, long time
Scientists found a rougheye rockfish that was over 200 years old. That rockfish is one of the oldest fish ever found. Rougheye rockfish are sometimes called red snapper on restaurant menus, so you could be eating a piece of history without even knowing it. Imagine: the fish on your plate could have been swimming around before trains were invented and Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, was born!

There are many types of rockfish
There are 102 rockfish species in the world, 36 of which can be found in British Columbia. (There are only 8 species of salmon in the world.)

Rockfish look good
Coral reef fish may get all the Hollywood blockbuster movie roles and media hype, but B.C. rockfish have lots of charm. They come in all sizes, shapes and colours, from the dramatically striped tiger rockfish to the brilliantly shimmering canary rockfish.

Rockfish aren’t claustrophobic
Rockfish like their homes to be tight and cozy. The caves formed by rock piles are great for hiding from predators, especially if the rocks are stacked to let the fish hide deep down. Because rockfish look for caves that are close to their body size, it’s easy to figure out where they are – just look for a rock pile with rockfish-sized gaps.

They’re food
Rockfish make up an important part of a healthy diet for many large ocean animals that a lot of us know and love, like harbour seals, sea lions, and lingcod.

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