Photo: 200-year-old rockfish in coastal B.C. waters

(Credit: Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Two-hundred-year-old fish?! That's right — some rockfish swimming in our coastal waters have been alive since Europeans first settled here in B.C.

The oldest of the rockfish species in B.C. is the wonderfully named rougheye rockfish. In nearby Alaska, rougheyes have been aged at 205 years, with rougheye rockfish of a similar age living in Canadian waters.

Most rockfish find a suitable home and pretty much stay put throughout the course of their life. Their non-migratory nature, and the fact that many species don't reproduce until they're about 20 years old, makes populations vulnerable to uncontrolled fishing.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada have set up Rockfish Conservation Areas to protect rockfish in some of their critical habitat. We're still waiting to find out if the conservation areas are effectively protecting these incredibly long-lived fish.

Do you have a story, photo and/or video about rockfish to share with us? Do you have any other good (true) fish stories? Tell us.

Post a comment


Jul 04, 2013
7:24 PM

probably removing a scale and just putting it under a microscope mind you I am not a scientist just someone who stumbled across this interesting acticle

Jul 04, 2013
6:54 PM

Shame on you! Why didn’t you take pictures and let him go! So wrong! I hope this atrocity haunts you forever!

Jul 04, 2013
4:01 PM

Hey Harvey. Happy birthday. Here’s the link describing how they determine fish age.

Jul 04, 2013
1:31 PM

Shame a fish this old was caught, this creature should have lived it’s life until it’s body wore out.

Jul 04, 2013
12:19 PM

Gee, how do you know they are 200 years old? Did you ask the fish? Oh by the way, I’m 340 years old, my birthday was yesterday…

Jul 04, 2013
9:34 AM

Just wondering… how do they determine the age of a fish?

Jul 04, 2013
8:55 AM

the elderly are not safe anywhere any more

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