2018 Assessment of Blackspotted and Rougheye Rockfish Stock Complex in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
Rougheye rockfish (Sebastes aleutianus) have historically been managed within various stock complexes in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) region. For example, from 1991 to 2000 rougheye rockfish in the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) area were managed under the “other red rockfish” species complex, which consisted of shortraker (Sebastes borealis), rougheye (S. aleutianus), sharpchin (S. zacentrus), and northern rockfish (S. polyspinis), whereas in the Aleutian Islands (AI) area during this time rougheye rockfish were managed within the rougheye/shortraker complex. In 2001, the other red rockfish complex in the EBS was split into two groups, rougheye/shortraker and sharpchin/northern, matching the complexes used in the Aleutian Islands. Additionally, separate TACs were established for the EBS and AI management areas, but the overfishing level (OFL) pertained to the entire BSAI area. By 2004, rougheye, shortraker, and northern rockfish were managed with species-specific OFLs applied to the BSAI management area.
Fish historically referred to as “rougheye” rockfish are now recognized as consisting of two separate species (Orr and Hawkins 2008), with rougheye rockfish retaining the name Sebastes aleutianus and resurrection of a new species, blackspotted rockfish (S. melanostictus). Both species are distributed widely throughout the north Pacific. S. aleutianus is distributed from the eastern AI near Unalaska Island along the continental slope to southern Oregon, where S. melanostictus is distributed along the continental slope from Japan to California (Orr and Hawkins 2008).