About The Species
U.S. wild-caught Pacific ocean perch is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations. A rebuilding plan restricts harvest of overfished Pacific ocean perch on the West Coast.
Above target population levels.
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.
- According to the 2018 stock assessment, the Gulf of Alaska stock of Pacific ocean perch is not overfished and not subject to overfishing.
- According to the 2018 stock assessment, the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands stock of Pacific ocean perch is not overfished and not subject to overfishing.
- According to the 2017 stock assessment, the Pacific Coast stock of Pacific ocean perch is rebuilt, not overfished, and not subject to overfishing based on 2016 catch data.
- Pacific ocean perch are light red with several diffuse, olive-green patches on their upper backs where the body begins to narrow towards the tail fin. They also possess a prominent, cone-shaped knob on their lower jaw.
- Pacific ocean perch grow slowly and may live to be 98 years old.
- They grow to about 20 inches long and weigh about 4 pounds.
- They do not reproduce until they are around 10 years old.
- Depending on their size, females can produce between 10,000 and 300,000 eggs.
- Pacific ocean perch mate in the fall. Eggs develop inside the female and receive some nourishment from the mother.
- Eggs hatch internally, and females release the larvae in the spring.
- Larvae eat small zooplankton (tiny floating organisms).
- Juveniles and adults feed on copepods and krill, and adults will also eat small fishes.
- Pacific ocean perch move off ocean bottom habitats during the day, following daily migrations of krill.
- Seabirds, other rockfish, salmon, lingcod, and other large bottom-dwelling fish feed on juveniles. Sablefish, halibut, and sperm whales feed on adult Pacific ocean perch.
Where They Live
- Pacific ocean perch are found off the coast of North America from California to the Western Aleutian Islands in Alaska.
- They are less commonly found south of Oregon and are particularly rare in Southern California.
- NOAA Fisheries and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the Pacific ocean perch fishery in Alaska.
- Managed under the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fishery Management Plans:
- Permits are required and the number of available permits is limited to control the amount of fishing.
- Managers determine how much Pacific ocean perch can be caught and then allocate this catch quota among groups of fishermen.
- Catch is monitored through record keeping, reporting requirements, and observer monitoring.
- A percentage of the Aleutian Islands catch is allocated to the Community Development Quota Program, which benefits fishery-dependent communities in western Alaska. The rest is allocated among the BSAI trawl sectors, based on historic harvest and future harvest needs, to improve retention and utilization of fishery resources by the trawl fleet.
- The Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program allows harvesters to fish together in cooperatives. These cooperatives are allocated specific amounts of the allowed catches of rockfish and species harvested incidentally to rockfish. The goal of the program is to spread out the fishery in time and space, allowing fishermen more flexibility to sell their catch for better prices and reducing the pressure of what was once an approximately 2-week fishery in July.
- NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council manage the Pacific ocean perch fishery on the West Coast.
- Managed under the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan:
- NOAA Fisheries declared the Pacific coast stock of Pacific ocean perch overfished in 1999. The council adopted a rebuilding plan for the stock in 2000, which prohibited a directed fishery for the species. The stock was declared rebuilt in 2017.
- The regulations listed below that apply to all Pacific groundfish fisheries also provide for the conservation and management of Pacific ocean perch:
- 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 that are 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.
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Commercial Fishing Regulations
Subsistence Fishing Regulations
The eastern Bering Sea was characterized by anomalously warm conditions in 2018. Over the northern…
Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Amendment 80 Groundfish Trawl Fisheries
Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska Harvest Specifications for 2006-2007: Environmental Assessment and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands harvest specifications
Data & Maps
Pacific ocean perch in the Gulf of Alaska are assessed on a biennial stock assessment schedule to…
In 2005, BSAI rockfish were moved to a biennial assessment schedule with full assessments in even…
Rockfish are assessed on a biennial stock assessment schedule to coincide with the availability of…
2019 North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Reports for 2020 Fisheries.
The goals of the Ecosystem Status Reports are to provide stronger links between ecosystem research and fishery management and spur new understanding of the connections between ecosystem components by bringing together the results of diverse research…
2018 North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Reports for 2019 Fisheries.
Pacific Ocean Perch are modeled using a statistical catch-at-age model implemented in AD Model Builder. Many data exist to support the model, including fishery and survey age and length distributions and good catch information. However, in general,…