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seafood encyclopedia

Rockfish: Northern


  • Scientific Name: Sebastes polyspinis
  • US Market Name(s): Rockfish
  • Canada Market Name(s): Rockfish

Culinary Profile

Northern Rockfish flesh is lean - pinkish is colour when raw and offers a firm, flakey texture. The flavour is mild and sweet.


The Rockfish family comprise of a wide variety of species – though when cooked – it is difficult to differentiate between the varieties. In general - Rockfish living at deeper depths tend to be brighter in colour.Rockfish have large mouths and eyes, spines on their head and prominent fins. Rougheye Rockfish have reddish backs and fins and are pink along their sides. Northern Rockfish have a dark grayish-green body and are reddish-orange on their ventral sides. They are covered with reddish-orange spots. This species grows to be about 40 cm long.


Northern Rockfish can be found along the outer continental shelf - most commonly at depths of 240 - 490 feet. Not surprisingly - Northern Rockfish have one of the most northerly distributions of all Rockfish species. They range from Northern British Columbia up to the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska - as well as around the Northern Pacific Rim to Eastern Kamchatka and the Northern Kurile Islands in Russia.

Fishing Season

Sustainability Status

Rockfish are slow-growing and mature late in life. Consequently - many Rockfish are caught before they have had chance to reproduce and are therefore very vulnerable to overfishing. In 2002 - emergency fishery closures - both commercial and sport - were enacted along the west coast of North America in an effort to give Rockfish populations a chance to recover.

Fishy Fact: The Northern Rockfish fishery in the Gulf of Alaska has huge economic and ecological importance. Every year - trawlers in this region catch about 4,000 tons of Northern Rockfish.


Available as Value Added, Commodity, Custom Packing.