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Bocaccio

Sebastes paucispinis

Illustration of a Bocaccio rockfish.

Also Known As

  • Bocaccio
  • Rock Salmon
  • Salmon Rockfish
  • Pacific Red Snapper
  • Pacific Snapper
  • Oregon Red Snapper
  • Oregon Snapper
  • Longjaw
  • Merou
  • Jack
  • Snapper
  • Rock Cod
  • Rockfish

U.S. wild-caught bocaccio is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.

Population

Above target population levels.

Fishing Rate

At recommended level.

Habitat Impacts

Area closures and gear restrictions protect sensitive rocky, cold-water coral and sponge habitats from bottom trawl gear.

Bycatch

Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch.

  • Availability

    Year-round.

  • Source

    U.S. wild-caught from California to Alaska.

  • Taste

    Delicate, nutty, sweet flavor.

  • Texture

    Lean and medium-firm, with a fine flake.

  • Color

    Whole fish should have shiny and bright skin. The raw flesh is white, but turns opaque white when cooked.

  • Health Benefits

    Low in saturated fat and very high in selenium, phosphorus, and potassium.

The U.S. Fishery

Fishery Management

  • NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the bocaccio fishery on the West Coast.
    • Along the southern Pacific coast, bocaccio are managed as a single stock. Along the northern Pacific coast, they are managed as part of the northern Pacific coast minor shelf rockfish complex.
  • Managed under the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan:
    • Permits and limited entry to the fishery.
    • Limit on how much may be harvested in one fishing trip.
    • Certain seasons and areas are closed to fishing.
    • Gear restrictions help reduce bycatch and impacts on habitat.
    • A trawl rationalization catch share program that includes:
    • Catch limits based on the population status of each fish stock and divided into shares that are allocated to individual fishermen or groups.
    • Provisions that allow fishermen to decide how and when to catch their share.
  • NOAA Fisheries and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the bocaccio fishery in the Gulf of Alaska. Bocaccio are managed as part of the other rockfish complex.
  • Managed under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska:
    • There is no directed fishing for this species in Alaska, and only minor amounts are landed incidentally in other fisheries.
    • Permits are required.
    • Bottom contact gear is prohibited in the Gulf of Alaska Coral and Alaska Seamount Habitat Protection Areas to protect sensitive habitat.
    • Gear restrictions help reduce bycatch.
    • Annual catch limits are in place to prevent overfishing.
  • Managed under the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fishery Management Plan.  Bocaccio are managed as part of the other rockfish complex, but they are not present in significant numbers.

Harvest

  • Commercial fishery
    • In 2017, commercial landings of bocaccio totaled 258,001 pounds and were valued at $152,882.
  • Gear types, habitat impacts and bycatch
    • Bottom trawl gear is the predominant fishing gear used to catch bocaccio.
    • Bottom trawls may sometimes catch other species of fish, including overfished and protected species.
    • Gear restrictions, closed areas, and catch share programs limit when, where, and how much trawl fishermen can harvest to reduce bycatch of other species.
    • Rockfish conservation areas eliminate fishing in areas on the West Coast where overfished rockfish species co-occur with target stocks, like canary rockfish. These closed areas help prevent bycatch of overfished rockfish.
  • Recreational fishery
    • Bocaccio is an important recreational fish in state waters.
    • State agencies encourage anglers to avoid catching rockfish intentionally, to deep-water release all released rockfish, and to relocate if they unintentionally catch rockfish.

The Science

Population Status

  • According to the 2018 stock assessment, the bocaccio stock on the southern Pacific coast is not overfished, and is not subject to overfishing. The stock rebuilt in 2017, faster than estimated in the rebuilding plan, due in large part to several strong year classes and an improved understanding of the productivity of this stock.
  • Along the northern Pacific coast, bocaccio is part of the northern Pacific coast minor shelf rockfish complex and the status of this complex is unknown.
  • In the Gulf of Alaska, bocaccio is part of the other rockfish complex.

Location

  • Bocaccio are found between Punta Blanca, Baja California, and the Gulf of Alaska off Krozoff and Kodiak Islands. Within this range, bocaccio is most common between Oregon and northern Baja California.
  • There are two partially isolated populations; one southern population centered in California, and one northern population centered in British Columbia. 

Habitat

  • As bocaccio age, they switch from free-swimming pelagic habitat to bottom-oriented demersal habitat.
  • Larvae and young-of-the-year bocaccio live in the upper layers of the ocean for several months.
  • Juveniles settle nearshore in bottom habitats, such as rocky areas or kelp forests, and form schools.
  • As juveniles mature, they move offshore to greater depths.
  • Adult bocaccio primarily inhabit rocky habitats from 130 to 980 feet deep. They also live on coral and sponge reefs, and even artificial structures such as oil platforms.
  • Several sources describe bocaccio as a midwater species during at least part of its adult phase.

Physical Description

  • Bocaccio can grow up to three feet long and weigh up to 21 pounds.
  • They are identifiable based on their long jaw, which extends to or past the eye socket.
  • Young bocaccio are light bronze with small brown spots along their sides. As they grow older, they lose their spots and darken.
  • Adult bocaccio have backs that are olive, burnt-orange or brown as adults. They have pink and red stomachs.

Biology

  • Bocaccio is a species of rockfish. Rockfishes are unusual among the bony fishes in that fertilization and embryo development is internal and female rockfish give birth to live larval young.
  • Like most other species of rockfish, bocaccio are long-lived. Bocaccio mature and begin to reproduce between ages 4 and 7 years old, and they can live to be 50 years old.
  • Bocaccio larvae are opportunistic feeders. Early on, larvae mostly eat copepod nauplii and eat some invertebrate eggs. As they grow, larvae start eating copepodites, adult copepods, and euphausiids.
  • Within the first year of their lives, bocaccio begin foraging on other young fishes.
  • Adult bocaccio mostly eat fish. Their preferred meal is other rockfishes, but they will also eat sablefish, anchovies, lantern fish and squid.
  • Female bocaccio may spawn one to three times per season. They are highly fecund for rockfish and have been recorded with anywhere from 290 thousand up to 1.9 million eggs in the ovaries at one time.
  • In the Southern California Bight, Bocaccio spawn from October to July, peaking in January. Off central and northern California, Bocaccio spawn from January to May and peak in February.

Last updated: 08/01/2019