Scorpaenidae (Scorpionfish)

North American Rockfish are diverse and beautiful fish. They are cousins of the Lionfish found in the tropical Pacific, and most species carry a small amount of venom in their dorsal spines. This venom is not dangerous, but can cause a nasty sting if you get jabbed.

Ten years ago we used to back into the shallows around almost any rock in the San Juan Islands and catch as many Rockfish as we wanted to clean for lunch. When the salmon population crashed in the 1990's, the charter and recreational boats focused on bottomfish and the population plumetted. It turns out that Rockfish are long-lived, slow breeding fish that don't migrate. It will take many, many years for the population to re-build. In addition, Rockfish have swim bladders, or gas-filled bags, that they can regulate to allow them to hang suspended in the water column. When the fish are caught in great depths (deeper than 30 feet or so) and brought to the surface, these swim bladders distend and stick out the fishes mouth. Even if released, the fish cannot then swim back down below the water's surface. They then become "Eagle Bait", floating on the water until eaten by an opportunistic predator.

You can learn more about these incredible fish from the links below, and there are many other reference materials on the Yacht.

Pictures of Puget Sound Fish.
Rockfish Populations near Bellingham, WA.
State of the Sound, 2004-2005.
Rockfish Science.
The sad history of Copper Rockfish (Graph).
One of the most beautiful books ever published, full of information and great pictures of these beautiful fish.
A little more from Dr. Love, the Rockfish guy.

FISHEYE, Inc.   •   PO Box 729   •    Stanwood, WA 98292   •   360 913 0186
All contents of this website are the property of FISHEYE, Inc. All rights reserved.