Copper Rockfish - Sebastes caurinus

Copper Rockfish - Sebastes caurinus

  View all Copper Rockfish Images in the Pacific Marine Index

Copper Rockfish (Sebastes caurinus) are a relativly common rockfish living along the Pacific coast. They have a very widespread distribution, from the very northern reaches of the Gulf of Alaska, to the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula, north of Guerrero Negro. These rockfish are very widely distributed in depth, from the subtidal shallows to over 600ft (200m).

Copper rockfish are known to be highly variable in coloration, ranging from a dark reddish brown, with pale copper blotching along the sides, to a lighter pinkish brown with a yellowish white mottling on the flanks. At one time it was thought that these variations were two different fish: Sebastes caurinus and Sebastes vexillaris. It is now known however that it is simply one species.

Males are known to mature between three and seven years, while females mature between four and eight years. Generally the larger a female is, the more young she will bear. Copper Rockfish are a vivparous fish giving birth to live young after a gestation period of around 10 months. These fish are a long lived species reaching ages of over forty years old however they only can reach a maximum size of about 22 in. and weigh only 10lbs. Juveniles are almost exclusively found in kelp beds and shallow rocky areas. They begin life feeding primarily on planktonic crustaceans. As they grow they continue to feed on increasingly large crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs as well as squid and octopus. Smaller fish also make up a large part of their diet. Adult copper rockfish are commonly found very close to the bottom often touching and they are almost always associated in and around rocks, and never on sand. These rockfish is known to be very faithful to its chosen home and numerous tagging studies have shown that they travel no more than a mile from their chosen location.

Copper Rockfish are quite photogenic however they can be quite shy and reclusive. Getting images of these fish takes patiance and a little luck because they tend to hind in the rocky substriaght. One of the better methods is to try and wait out the fish, find a good spot with a colourful background and let the Copper's swim to you, any sudden movement will cause the fish to dart back into the rocks and getting an image becomes very difficult. Mature adults tend to be much more approachable where as younger fish will shy away very quickly as diver approach.