A member of the Scorpaenidae family, the black rockﬁsh is widely distributed in the eastern Paciﬁc. It is an excellent food ﬁsh.
IdentificationThe body of the black rockﬁsh is oval or egg shaped and compressed. The head has a steep upper proﬁle that is almost straight; the mouth is large and the lower jaw projects slightly. The eyes are moderately large. The color is brown to black on the back, paler on the sides, and dirty white below.
There are black spots on the dorsal ﬁn. This species is easily confused with the blue rockﬁsh; however, the anal fin of the black rockfish is rounded, whereas the anal fin of the blue rockfish is slanted or straight. The black rockﬁsh has spots on the dorsal ﬁn, and the blue rockﬁsh does not.
SizeThis species can attain a length of 25 inches and a weight of 11 pounds. The largest recorded weighed 10.5 pounds.
Life history/BehaviorLike all members of its family, the black rockﬁsh is ovoviviparous, with egg fertilization and development taking place in the body of the mother. When embryonic development is complete, the female releases the eggs; the exposure to seawater activates the embryo, and it escapes from the egg case. The young hatch in the spring and form large schools off the bottom in estuaries and tide pools in the summer.
Adults may be abundant in the summer in shallow water near kelp-lined shores, but they occupy deeper water in the fall and the winter. They may school over rocky reefs from the bottom to the surface and are caught at varied depths, from near the surface to 1,200 feet.