Part of the large Scorpaenidae family of fish spread worldwide, Rockfish are an abundant fish on the West Coast of Canada.
Though once more plentiful, it is hard to do a dive in the Emerald Seas of British Columbia and not see some representation of this family of fish. Many rockfish are extremely long lived and can attain a hefty size, some up to one meter long. They are generally a bottom dweller, often hiding among rocks and reefs, but some are midwater fish that form large schools over reefs and in kelp forests. One of the characteristic features of rockfish are the dorsal, pelvic and anal fins equipped with very sharp spines that contain a trace of mildly toxic venom. Though not as toxic as their tropical counterparts (Stonefish and Lionfish), a jab from these spines can still be extremely uncomfortable. This last year and in 2016 there was a massive recruitment of rockfish juveniles up. Parts of the coast this year were literally filled with rockfish babies of various species, mainly Widow and Yellowtail. See my recent blog post here for more on this story from 2016.