Chilipepper Rockfish

(spring-summer-fall)

Also (problematically) called "rock cod."  They live mainly off the coast of western North America from Baja California to Vancouver.

The Meat:

Chilipepper rockfish produce a light, white, flaky fillet. Good for baking, broiling or turning into some fairly awesome fish tacos. See what the Fishwife has to say on the subject....

Prep:

Chilis will always come filleted.

Health concerns:

Not sure. I've never heard of them being tested. They live up to 39 years but they have a fairly wide ranging diet (they don't just eat other fishes).

Gear and fishery info:

Again, as of this writing the only chilipeppers you will be getting from me are the ones caught by Scottish seine on the Mr. Morgan (see petrale sole and sand dab for more details).

Fish Nerdism 101:

Chilis have been a hugely popular fish in SF for over a hundred years. Although many rockfish species are long-lived (canary rockfish = 85 years, yelloweye rockfish = 120, short raker = 200) and mature slowly, chilipepper rockfish mature between 3-8 years of age.  The Fish and Game Department tell us that the chilipepper population is reasonably abundant, (Status of the Fisheries Reoprt 2001) but subject to peaks and valleys. The current quotas, closures etc, contribute to the continuing sustainability of the stocks. But they have to be watched carefully. Although some chilis do mature at 3yr of age, this is not the majority of them. One thing for sure, standing at the wharf on a daily basis, watching the local drag boats unloading 30,000—40,000 pounds of chilis and idiotfish really mades you marvel at the great recuperative power of the Pacific Ocean... (or the pending anihilation of it).

Parting Shots
Facts:
  • Scientific Name:                Sebastes goodei

 

  • Habitat:  Adults frequent deep rocky reefs as well as sand and mud bottoms; young are pelagic and occur in shallower waters.

 

  • Diet:  Adult chilipepper feed on small crustaceans, small squids, or on such fishes as anchovies, young hake, small sardines, and lanternfishes.

 

  • Size:  Adult fish range in size up to 22 inches and weigh from 1 to over 5 pounds.

 

  • Range: This species occurs from Magdalena Bay, Baja California, to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Chilipeppers are not taken as frequently as other rockfishes because they are rarely caught in depths less than 360 feet along the coast of California.

2010 - present

2010 - present

A big chilipepper is anything over 4 pounds. I imagine the name comes from the red color.