North Island Explorer: Guide to North Vancouver Island






































Yelloweye Rockfish

Photo 1: 'Red Snappers' caught near Winter Harbour on the north end of Vancouver Island.


Yelloweye Rockfish: Sebastes ruberrimus


This rockfish can grow as large as 1 meter in length and live over 100 years. Though once regarded as a nuisance by commercial fishermen, this rockfish is now considered a prize catch, providing tasty whitefish fillets. So much so that a lot of whitefish on the market is falsely labelled as 'Red Snapper'. However, because its swim bladder protrudes from its mouth when it rises too quickly, it is considered a poor fighter by recreational fishermen.


Serious rockfish conservation concerns have resulted in numerous closures for all finfish fishing in rockfish conservation areas throughout Vancouver Island. Because rockfish do not survive catch and release well, it is important to avoid catching them altogether, which is why all finfish harvesting is prohibited in these areas. In the case of Yelloweye Rockfish, slower accents will reduce the likelyhood of survival after release. As well, a pin can be used to puncture their protruding swim bladders, allowing them to swallow the bladders  again and then descend to the bottom. I have tried this on numerous Yelloweye Rockfish and can attest that they do seem to recover, swimming quickly to the depths, though it is hard to say what the mortality rate  is from having their swim bladders punctured. In some cases, I've had to push the deflated bladder back down the fish's throat.





Marine Life Guide to North Vancouver Island