How long do they live? Pacific ocean perch live to be at least 100 years old and perhaps older (remember the fish must be dead to observe the otolith annuli) [1].

Where are they found? Pacific Ocean Perch (also called POPs, which for the first time I actually like an acronym) are found in the Northern Pacific ocean from Japan to central California. Like many species of rockfish, young POPs live in depths of around 120 feet, but as they age they move into deeper waters and have been found nearly 2,800 feet deep [2].

What do they eat? POPs eat larger prey as they grow in size and this includes some smaller fish and copepods [2].

What do they look like? They’re usually a range of red and pink colors and they grow to be about  21 inches long and 4.5 pounds [2]. See figures 1 and 2.

sebastes_alutus
Figure 1. A Pacific Ocean Perch on the more pale pink side of color.
pacific_ocean_perch_sebastes_alutus_are_occasionally_caught_during_trawls
Figure 2. These are on more of the reddish pink color scale, but that could be due to all that death they’re succumbing to.

How do they reproduce? POPs reach sexual maturity between 6 to 9 years of age. They are viviparous and females discharge larvae into the water. Like most fish, they provide no maternal care following larval release [2]. Researchers found that although there may be a difference in follicle size in POPs over 77 years old, they do continue oogenesis into old age [3].

How do scientists know how old they are? Otolith annuli counts [1].

So what are we lacking? More work analyzing the reproductive senescence of this species would be useful. There is no information on the NCBI website in relation to the nuclear or mitochondrial genome of Sebastes alutus; so, that would be a good start to figuring out how they live so long.

Conservation status: Not evaluated by the IUCN.

Please contact me if you do research on these fish or any of the animals on this website.

  1. Shayne MacLellan, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, BC, Canada.
  2. Love, Milton S., Mary Yoklavich, and Lyman K. Thorsteinson. The rockfishes of the northeast Pacific. Page 123. Univ of California Press, 2002.
  3. de Bruin, Jan-Peter, et al. “Ovarian aging in two species of long-lived rockfish, Sebastes aleutianus and S. alutus.” Biology of reproduction 71.3 (2004): 1036-1042.