Temporal range: 33.9–0 Ma

Early Oligocene to Present[1]

Sebastes ruberrimus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes [2]
Family: Sebastidae
Genus: Sebastes
G. Cuvier, 1829
Type species
Sebastes norvegicus [3]

Sebastes is a genus of fish in the family Sebastidae (though some include this in Scorpaenidae), most of which have the common name of rockfish. A few are called ocean perch, sea perch or redfish instead. Most of the Sebastes species live in the north Pacific, although two (Sebastes capensis and Sebastes oculatus) live in the south Pacific/Atlantic and four (Sebastes fasciatus, Sebastes mentella, Sebastes norvegicus and Sebastes viviparus) live in the north Atlantic. The coast off South California is the area of highest rockfish diversity, with 56 species living in the Southern California Bight.

The fossil record of rockfish goes back to the Miocene, from California and Japan (although fossil otoliths from Belgium, "Sebastes" weileri, may push the record back as far as the Oligocene).

Rockfish are an important sport and commercial fish, and many species have been overfished. As a result, seasons are tightly controlled in many areas. Sebastes are sometimes fraudulently substituted for the more expensive Lutjanus campechanus.[4]


Rockfish range from the intertidal zone to almost 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) deep, usually living benthically on various substrates, often (as the name suggests) around rock outcrops. Some rockfish species are very long-lived, amongst the longest-living fish on earth, with several species known to surpass 100 years of age, and a maximum reported age of 205 years for Sebastes aleutianus.[5]

Ecotoxicology, radioecology

Like all carnivores, these fish can bioaccumulate some pollutants or radionuclides such as cesium. Highly radioactive rockfish have been caught in a port near Fukushima city, Japan, not far from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, nearly two years after the nuclear disaster (ex: 107000 Bq/kg[6] (2013-02-12) ; 116000 Bq/kg[6] (2013-02-13) and 132000Bq/kg[6] (2013-02-13), respectively 1070, 1160 and 1320 times more than the maximum allowed by Japanese authorities (as updated on April 1, 2012)[6]


There are currently 108 recognized species in this genus:


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sebastes.
  1. Sepkoski, J. (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 364: 560.
  2. "Scorpaeniformes". Paleobiology Database.
  3. Kendall, A.W.Jr. "An Historical Review of Sebastes Taxonomy and Systematics" (PDF). NOAA.
  4. "Regulatory Fish Encyclopedia". U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  5. Cailliet, G.M., Andrews, A.H., Burton, E.J., Watters, D.L., Kline, D.E. & Ferry-Graham, L.A. (2001). "Age determination and validation studies of marine fishes: do deep-dwellers live longer?". Experimental Gerontology. 36 (4–6): 739–764. doi:10.1016/s0531-5565(00)00239-4.
  6. 1 2 3 4 TEPCO (2013): Nuclide Analysis Results of Fish and Shellfish (The Ocean Area Within 20km Radius of Fukushima Daiichi NPS <1/13>.
  7. 1 2 Frable, B.W., Wagman, D.W., Frierson, T.N., Aguilar, A. & Sidlauskas, B.L. (2015). "A new species of Sebastes (Scorpaeniformes: Sebastidae) from the northeastern Pacific, with a redescription of the blue rockfish, S. mystinus (Jordan and Gilbert, 1881)" (PDF). Fishery Bulletin. 113 (4): 355–377. doi:10.7755/fb.113.4.1.
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