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Bocaccio

Scientific Name: Sebastes paucispinis

Distribution: Found from the Western Gulf of Alaska to central Baja California, but are most commonly found from northern California to northern Baja California.

Habitat: Juvenile bocaccio recruit to the nearshore and move progressively deeper and offshore with age, adults can be found at depths between 70 and 1,580 ft (21-482 m) but are most typically found between 80-200m. Both adults and juveniles are frequently found at sites with complex high-relief structures, like caves and crevices, which they use for shelter.

Behavior: Previous research has suggested that juvenile and subadult bocaccio are more mobile and move from reef to reef whereas adults exhibit higher site fidelity and are more sedentary. However, SCATTN tagging efforts by NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center has shown that adults can also be highly mobile. Bocaccio exhibit a diel pattern in which they often move up into water column during the day, probably to seek food, and return closer to their rocky reef habitat and or deeper at night. Size at maturity may vary with location, but females mature later than the males. Mature females can produce up to 2.3 million eggs and tend to release larvae between October and July. The large mouth of a bocaccio allows it to eat a variety of organisms and even as a young juvenile can eat small fish and zooplankton. Larger and older bocaccio eat fishes and squid. The dorsal and anal spines of bocaccio are venomous.

Why it is important: Bocaccio has historically been one of the most abundant rockfish in the sport fishery off central and southern California. However, in 1999 they were determined to be overfished as abundance had declined to ~ 3% of what it had been in 1969. Since being declared “overfished,” spatial, depth and seasonal closures as well as take limits have resulted in a large rebound in this species. Bocaccio are expected to be declared “rebuilt” as soon as 2016.

Sources: Fishbase, CDFW 2001 (Status Report), Starr 2002, Love 2011, Kells et al. 2016, Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC)

Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Sebastes paucispinis

Conservation Status (IUCN): Not Evaluated

Lifespan: 58+ years

Age at Maturity: All mature by 6 years

Maximum Weight: 23.6 lbs (10.7 kg)

Speed: Unknown

Maximum Length: 3.25 ft (98.1 cm)

Habitat: Temperate deep-water reefs, typically associated with medium to high-relief reefs

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