About the Species
Bocaccio are large Pacific coast rockfish that are slow-growing, late to mature, and long-lived. They range from Punta Blanca, Baja California, to the Gulf of Alaska off Krozoff and the Kodiak Islands, but are most common between Oregon and northern Baja California. Having struggled to recover from overfishing, the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin distinct population segment of bocaccio is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Non-ESA listed populations of bocaccio are harvested in commercial and recreational fisheries off the West Coast and Alaska.
Above target population level.
At recommended levels.
Area closures and gear restrictions protect sensitive rocky, cold-water coral and sponge habitats from bottom trawl gear.
Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch.
There are three stocks of bocaccio: southern Pacific coast, one stock contained in a stock complex along the northern Pacific coast, and one stock contained in a stock complex in the Gulf of Alaska. According to the most recent stock assessments:
The southern Pacific coast stock is not overfished (2017 stock assessment) and not subject to overfishing based on 2018 catch data. Summary stock assessment information can be found on Stock SMART. This stock had been overfished and was successfully rebuilt in 2017.
The population status of the Minor Shelf Rockfish North Complex, which includes northern Pacific coast bocaccio, is unknown. The complex has not been assessed, but according to 2018 catch data, the complex is not subject to overfishing.
The population status of the Gulf of Alaska Other Rockfish Complex, which includes bocaccio, is unknown. The complex has not been assessed, but according to 2020 catch data, the complex is not subject to overfishing.
- Bocaccio can grow up to three feet long and weigh up to 21 pounds.
- They are identifiable based on their long jaw, which extends to or past the eye socket.
- Young bocaccio are light bronze with small brown spots along their sides. As they grow older, they lose their spots and darken.
- Adult bocaccio have backs that are olive, burnt-orange or brown as adults. They have pink and red stomachs.
- Bocaccio is a species of rockfish. Rockfishes are unusual among the bony fishes in that fertilization and embryo development is internal and female rockfish give birth to live larval young.
- Like most other species of rockfish, bocaccio are long-lived. Bocaccio mature and begin to reproduce between ages 4 and 7 years old, and they can live to be 50 years old.
- Bocaccio larvae are opportunistic feeders. Early on, larvae mostly eat copepod nauplii and eat some invertebrate eggs. As they grow, larvae start eating copepodites, adult copepods, and euphausiids.
- Within the first year of their lives, bocaccio begin foraging on other young fishes.
- Adult bocaccio mostly eat fish. Their preferred meal is other rockfishes, but they will also eat sablefish, anchovies, lantern fish and squid.
- Female bocaccio may spawn one to three times per season. They are highly fecund for rockfish and have been recorded with anywhere from 290 thousand up to 1.9 million eggs in the ovaries at one time.
- In the Southern California Bight, Bocaccio spawn from October to July, peaking in January. Off central and northern California, Bocaccio spawn from January to May and peak in February.
Where They Live
- Bocaccio are found between Punta Blanca, Baja California, and the Gulf of Alaska off Krozoff and Kodiak Islands. Within this range, bocaccio is most common between Oregon and northern Baja California.
- There are two partially isolated populations; one southern population centered in California, and one northern population centered in British Columbia.
- NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the bocaccio fishery on the West Coast.
- Along the southern Pacific coast, bocaccio are managed as a single stock. Along the northern Pacific coast, they are managed as part of the northern Pacific coast minor shelf rockfish complex.
- Managed under the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan:
- Permits and limited entry to the fishery.
- Limit on how much may be harvested in one fishing trip.
- Certain seasons and areas are closed to fishing.
- Gear restrictions help reduce bycatch and impacts on habitat.
- A trawl rationalization catch share program that includes:
- Catch limits based on the population status of each fish stock and divided into shares that are allocated to individual fishermen or groups.
- Provisions that allow fishermen to decide how and when to catch their share.
- NOAA Fisheries and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the bocaccio fishery in the Gulf of Alaska. Bocaccio are managed as part of the other rockfish complex.
- Managed under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska:
- There is no directed fishing for this species in Alaska, and only minor amounts are landed incidentally in other fisheries.
- Permits are required.
- Bottom contact gear is prohibited in the Gulf of Alaska Coral and Alaska Seamount Habitat Protection Areas to protect sensitive habitat.
- Gear restrictions help reduce bycatch.
- Annual catch limits are in place to prevent overfishing.
- Managed under the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. Bocaccio are managed as part of the other rockfish complex, but they are not present in significant numbers.
- Commercial fishery
- In 2019, commercial landings of bocaccio totaled approximately 1 million pounds and were valued at approximately $478,000, according to the NOAA Fisheries commercial fishing landings database.
- Gear types, habitat impacts and bycatch
- Bottom trawl gear is the predominant fishing gear used to catch bocaccio.
- Bottom trawls may sometimes catch other species of fish, including overfished and protected species.
- Gear restrictions, closed areas, and catch share programs limit when, where, and how much trawl fishermen can harvest to reduce bycatch of other species.
- Rockfish conservation areas eliminate fishing in areas on the West Coast where overfished rockfish species co-occur with target stocks, like canary rockfish. These closed areas help prevent bycatch of overfished rockfish.
- Recreational fishery
- Bocaccio is an important recreational fish in state waters.
- In 2019, recreational anglers landed 330,000 pounds of bocaccio, according to the NOAA Fisheries recreational fishing landings database.
- State agencies encourage anglers to avoid catching rockfish intentionally, to deep-water release all released rockfish, and to relocate if they unintentionally catch rockfish.
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Commercial Fishing Regulations
Subsistence Fishing Regulations
Commercial and recreational harvest of bocaccio is managed under the following fishery management plans:
Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Designation for the Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Distinct Population Segments of Yelloweye Rockfish, Canary Rockfish, and Bocaccio
The purpose of this report is to identify and analyze the potential economic impacts associated…
Final Section 4(b)(2) Report for the Designation of Critical Habitat for Yelloweye Rockfish, Canary Rockfish, and Bocaccio
This report contains NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region’s analysis for designating critical habitat…
Biological Report for the Designation of Critical Habitat for Yelloweye Rockfish, Canary Rockfish, and Bocaccio
This report contains a biological analysis compiled by the Protected Resources Division of NOAA…