Deep Water Rockfish:

(Mar - Dec)

Red Banded

(aka “Red Bandit” or “Barber Pole”)

Blackgill Rockfish

Shortspine Thornyhead (Idiot Fish)


The Meat:

Flaky white. Like cod (hence the problematic slang for this species: “rock cod”) Can be baked, broiled, pan fried. Best fish tacos on the planet!


Your rockfish will usually come filleted with skin on, or occasionally with skin off. Whole rockfish will sometimes be available. I always prefer leaving the skin on a fish, as it is my personal belief that it adds to the flavor when cooked. But there is another reason... all over the world one of the major problems with sourcing seafood is that once a fish is filleted and skinned it's really hard to tell (without DNA sampling) what the hell it is! This is not the case if one leaves the skin on. Occasionally when the guys at the warehouse get on a roll they will skin the fish and fill out my order before I see them do it. In this case you'll just have to rely on my word as to what your fish actually is!


Health concerns:

The OEHHA report lists rockfish as a healthy choice.

Gear and fishery info:

All the deepwater rockfishes I get are either caught by Scottish Seine, (chilipeppers) or as bycatch in the longline blackcod fishery (red bandeds, blackgills, thornyheads.)

Fish Nerdism 101:

These three species are bycatch in the black cod fishery. They are not the types of fish that I normally sell, being that they are long-lived and slow growing (blackgills and barber poles can live more than 100 years). Nevertheless, the stocks are listed as extremely healthy and it's not like the guys are targeting them specifically. Due to the fact that they suffer barotrauma on the way up from the deep off-shore waters where they are caught, blackgills and red bandeds will die if thrown back.  So to be clear: if we don't buy them, the fisherman throws them back dead.

Parting Shots

Typically a large one-day haul of these long lined deep water rockfishes is a fraction of a given boat's blackcod catch, rarely exceeding a few hundred pounds.

  • Scientific Name:                       Sebastes babcocki             Sebastes melanostomus     Sebastolobus alascanus


  • Habitat:  The red banded lives at ocean depths from 49 to 625 meters, with most between 150 and 350 meters. It can be found on soft seabed, but it also lives on muddy, pebbly, and rocky substrates, sometimes using rocks for cover. The blackgill is a deepwater species, living in the soft bottoms, 720 to 2520 feet. The shortspine thronyhead's depth range is between 17 and 1,600 m (56 and 5,249 ft).


  • Diet: They feed on plankton, small crustaceans, small squid and other fish.


  • Size: These fish vary in size reaching up to 25-31 inches in length. Its maximum recorded weight is 9.7 lbs (4.4 kilos), and the mean weight is roughly 3-4 lbs.


  • Range:  The red banded is native to the northern and eastern Pacific Ocean. Its distribution extends from the Zhemchug Canyon in the Bering Sea and the Aleutians south to San Diego, California. The blackgill's range from is Washington to central Baja California. The shortspine thornyhead is native to the cold waters of the northern Pacific Ocean and is known from Canada, Alaska and the Russian Federation.



2010 - present

2010 - present