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Rockfish (Sebastes spp.)

Rockfish
Rockfish

Scientific name for Rockfish

Sebastes spp.

Common name(s) for Rockfish

Pacific red snapper, rock cod, black bass, Pacific ocean perch, POP, widow rockfish, canary rockfish, chilipepper, thorny head

Market name

Rockfish

Other language names for Rockfish

  • French: Racasse du nor
  • German: Rotbarsch
  • Italian: Sebaste
  • Japanese: Menuke
  • Spanish: Gallineta

Introduction to Rockfish

There are few groups of fish with as many harvest techniques, actual names, and nicknames as the Sebastes genus. This family of about 70 fish spans the Bering Sea to Baja California. Numerous individuals get their common names and nicknames from their skin tone: green, brown, dark, blue, black, copper, olive, and red, to mention a few. And when they dive deeper (up to 300 fathoms), their coloring becomes more vibrant. Other names for rockfish include quillback, pygmy, shortbelly, longspine, and yellow-eye. The Pacific ocean perch and the widow, canary, chilipepper, yelloweye, vermillion, and thornyhead rockfish are the most significant commercial species. The fish may weigh between 1 and 40 pounds, although the average weight is between 2 and 5 pounds. Trolling, trawling, longlining, jigging, trapping, and gillnetting are all methods used to capture rockfish – either intentionally or as bycatch. Due to their sluggish growth rate, rockfish are particularly vulnerable to overfishing.

Product Profile for Rockfish

The flavor of rockfish is delicate, nutty, and sweet. The meat has a fine flake and is lean and medium-firm in texture. The most delicate flavor comes from deep-skinned rockfish with the fat line removed. The skin should be lustrous and glowing. The fish is stale if it is yellow-orange in color, wrinkled, and seems to be excessively big for the fish. Browning, graying, or yellowing of the fillets is not acceptable. Red-fleshed and brown-fleshed rockfish are the two types of rockfish. Because red-fleshed fillets are less greasy and have a longer shelf life, they are typically preferred.

Nutrition for Rockfish


Calories: 94
Fat Calories: 14
Total Fat: 1.6 g
Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 35 mg
Sodium: 60 mg
Protein: 18.8 g
Omega 3: 0.4 g

Cooking tips for Rockfish

When cooked, rockfish holds up well to baking and retains its moisture. Rockfish’s solid texture makes it ideal for soups, chowders, and stews. Rockfish is frequently eaten whole in Asian cuisine, either steamed or deep fried, with a variety of sauces to complement the mild flavor. With the skin on, the fillets stay together better. While entire, dressed fish may not be strong enough to cook, they do nicely on the grill.

Cooking methods for Rockfish

Bake, Fry, Poach, Saute, Steam

Primary Product Forms for Rockfish

Live: Fresh, Whole, H&G, Fillets

Frozen: Whole, H&G, Fillets, Blocks

Value-added: Breaded/battered portions

Global Supply for Rockfish

Canada, Russia, United States, Iran