Yelloweye Rockfish Pacific Ocean outside waters population
Scientific Name: Sebastes ruberrimus
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
Range: Pacific Ocean
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2008
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Special Concern
Image of Yelloweye Rockfish
The Yelloweye Rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) is one of 102 species of rockfish belonging to the genus Sebastes. Yelloweye Rockfish are one of the largest rockfish, reaching a maximum recorded length of 91 cm and weight of 11.3 kg. They are easily identified by their bright orange to red colouration and bright yellow eyes. Adults usually have a light to white stripe on their lateral line, while juveniles are darker red in colour, and have two light stripes on and below the lateral line. (Updated 2017/03/27)
Distribution and Population
There are two distinct Designatable Units of Yelloweye Rockfish within the coastal waters of British Columbia. The Pacific Ocean inside waters Yelloweye population inhabits the Strait of Georgia, Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Strait. The Pacific Ocean outside waters population extends from at least southeast Alaska through to northern Oregon, including the whole of the British Columbia offshore, north and central coast waters. The two Yelloweye populations are distinguished on the basis of genetic information indicating restricted gene flow, and age at maturity. Based on the 2012 and 2015 stock assessment surveys, both the Inside and Outside waters populations are estimated to have declined to 12% and 18%, respectively, of the estimated initial biomass in 1918 (DFO 2012; DFO 2015). (Updated 2017/03/27)
Yelloweye are found only in the northeast Pacific and have been observed from Ensenada, Baja California to Umnak Island in the Aleutian Islands. They are present throughout the coastal waters of British Columbia. Fisheries harvest 95% of their Yelloweye catch between 19 and 251 m depth. Yelloweye Rockfish have been observed from submersibles in depths from 30 to 232 m, over substrates that are hard, complex and with some vertical relief, such as broken rock, rock reefs, ridges, overhangs, crevices, caves, cobble and boulder fields. (Updated 2017/03/27)
Female Yelloweye produce between 1.2 and 2.7 million eggs annually. Mating takes place in November, then females may store the sperm for weeks prior to fertilization, and the fertilized eggs are laid in May and June. Yelloweye Rockfish are solitary benthic dwellers with small home ranges. They can live to 115 years in British Columbia, and females reach 50% maturity at about 16 and 20 years of age for the outside and inside waters populations, respectively. On average, females tend to be larger and older than the males, and can reach a maximum size of 88 cm in British Columbia. (Updated 2017/03/27)
Fishing is the most significant threat to Yelloweye in Canada. Commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries and scientific surveys on the Pacific coast all target Yelloweye, along with other rockfish species. Yelloweye are also harvested as bycatch in other commercial fisheries. Yelloweye are particularly vulnerable to commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fishing because they are a nearshore species, and their large size makes them a desirable catch. As one of the largest, longest-lived and latest-maturing rockfishes, Yelloweye populations are especially sensitive to mortality caused by human activities. Catch in inside waters has been more intense and happened for a longer period than in outside waters. Like other rockfish species, Yelloweye cannot rapidly adjust to changes in pressure; as a result, they often die when brought to the surface. (Updated 2017/03/27)
Federal ProtectionMore information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Other Protection or Status
Yelloweye Rockfish do not have any international status designations. In American waters to the south of British Columbia, Yelloweye Rockfish have been designated as “overfished” since 2002 and the species is under a rebuilding plan from Washington to California. In Canada, total allowable catch (TAC) of Yelloweye Rockfish in commercial fisheries was reduced by 50% outside and 75% inside between 2001 and 2002, in response to concerns about population status. Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCA), closed to all commercial and recreational fishing, protect rockfish habitat with a goal of protecting 20% and 30% of rockfish habitat within RCAs for the outside and inside waters, respectively. Currently 164 such RCAs are in place. (Updated 2017/03/27)
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.
8 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Assessments (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Action Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Document Posting Plans (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2009 (2009)2009 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
Recovery Document Posting Plans
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