Scientific Name: Sebastes paucispinis
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
Range: Pacific Ocean
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2013
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
Image of Bocaccio
The Bocaccio is one of about 35 species of rockfish (Sebastes spp.) found in the waters off British Columbia. Other common, or market, names include Rock Salmon, Salmon Rockfish, Pacific Red Snapper, Pacific Snapper, Oregon Red Snapper, Oregon Snapper, and Longjaws.
Adult Bocaccio range in colour from olive-orange to burnt-orange or brown on the back and pink to red on the stomach. The most distinctive feature of this fish is its long upper jaw, which extends at least as far as the eye socket. Young fish less than 25 cm long are light bronze with small brown spots on their sides. Their colour darkens and their spots disappear as they mature. The Bocaccio is one of the largest of the rockfish. It typically reaches 64 to 74 cm in length; however, 91-cm-long females and 75-cm-long males have been found.
Distribution and Population
The Bocaccio is found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, Mexico. In Canada, it is present along the outer Pacific Coast, where it is caught by commercial trawlers fishing for other species. The largest catches in British Columbia come from the northwest coast of Vancouver Island and Queen Charlotte Sound. The inshore distribution of the Bocaccio is less well understood because most commercial groundfishing in British Columbia is done on the outer Pacific Coast, near the edge of the continental shelf. It is known, however, to occur in some inlets and in the Strait of Georgia. Some fishers have said that they found Bocaccio in the area of the Strait in the 1970s, but not in the 1990s. Off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Bocaccio numbers have declined an estimated 95% from 1980 to 2000. There may also be a decline in the Strait of Georgia, but more data are needed. In American waters to the south, abundance appears to have declined by 99% over the last 20 years. The abundance of Bocaccio in Canadian waters is poorly understood because of its relatively low commercial importance.
For the first few months of the year, young fish live near the surface. From late spring through the summer, they settle together in near-shore areas with bottom depths of 30 to 120 m. Adults are found over a variety of bottom types — most commonly over depths of 60 to 340 m — but are still considered semi-pelagic (tending to prefer the upper layers of the open sea).
The Bocaccio, like all rockfish, is ovoviviparous — eggs hatch inside the female’s body and she gives birth to live young. Mating occurs in early fall; however, fertilization is delayed within the female’s body and the larvae undergo much of their development there before being released. In British Columbia waters, the young are usually released in the winter, when they are 4 to 5 mm long. Large females produce more eggs than smaller ones, with egg numbers ranging from 20 000 to 2 300 000. The young move out into the upper layers of the ocean over several months, after reaching a size of 19 to 40 mm. They grow rapidly and can reach 24 cm by the end of their first year. They are thought to be mature at 4 to 5 years of age, and to have a maximum lifespan of 40 years; however, there is some evidence that they can live as long as 50 years. Studies indicate that the Bocaccio is mobile for the first few years of its life, becoming more sedentary after reaching a length of about 47 cm. Freshly hatched Bocaccio eat primarily plankton (such as small crustaceans and copepods), later switching mainly to fish. Rockfish is one of the preferred fish of both juveniles and adults, but adults will also eat sablefish, anchovies, lantern fish, and squid. Bocaccio adults are themselves food for Harbour Seals and Northern Elephant Seals, while the juveniles are eaten by seabirds.
The largest known threat to the Bocaccio is commercial fishing. Fishers trawling for other species accidentally catch this species - which usually results in death for individuals caught in waters greater than 20 m. The Bocaccio’s swim bladder cannot accommodate the rapid change in pressure, and the fish die as they are brought to the surface. Recreational fishing could have a more significant impact as that fishery turns more toward groundfish.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Other Protection or Status
The Bocaccio is listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund.
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
12 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Assessments (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (2 record(s) found.)
- Orders (4 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (2 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2003 (2003)May 2003 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
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