China Rockfish -  Sebastes nebulosus

China Rockfish - Sebastes nebulosus

 View all China Rockfish Images in the Pacific Marine Index

China Rockfish (Sebastes nebulosus) have a distinctive appearance from other rockfish. Their colouration is a dark blue or black body crossed by a patchy but obvious yellow stripe that extends from around the third dorsal spine down, and then along the lateral line. In addition, the body may be covered with small whitish or yellowish spots. These rockfish only grow to about 18 inches (45 cm.) The dorsal spines are only mildly venomous compared to other members of this family.

These rockfish are found in the Eastern Pacific from southeast Alaska to Redondo Beach and San Miguel Island, Southern California, USA. Adults are solitary and territorial, preferring rocky outcropings with boulder fields and crevices. The territories are apparently small, with a study off Vancouver Island finding Chinas moving only within 33 ft. (10 m). They feed on benthic organisms, including brittle stars, chitons, and crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. When confronted with an intruder, the fish erects its spines and tries to look larger.

China rockfish are not as shy as other members of the rockfish family. These fish tend to stay motionless when approached by photographers and divers. They present a great photographic opportunity and almost pose for an image. Although all fish have a "bubble" or personal space buffer, most China rockfish are inquizitive and may swim towards you rather than immediately turning or swimming away. Composing a great image with a China rockfish in frame can be very striking if shot around Northern Vancouver Island or the Queen Charlotte Islands, as dive sites such as Dillon Rock or Seven Tree Island in Port Hardy have lush marine reefs and colourful backdrops to shoot these beautiful rockfish.