2 - 5 pounds
10" - 21"
Also known as rockfish, red bream, Pacific rockfish, or red perch the Pacific Ocean Perch (POP) is a tasty and healthy seafood choice. It has a sweet-tasting and firm flesh with low oil content.
The POP’s body is compressed and has dark markings on the upper part; its color ranges from bright brick red to light red. The Pacific Ocean Perch may have some dark blotches on its caudal fin. Its jaw has a remarkable cone-shaped knob pointing forward. It has 13 dorsal spines with around 14-17 dorsal soft rays. It has 3 anal spines with 6-9 anal soft rays. The Pacific Ocean Perch may have some olive patches near the upper body.
The Pacific Ocean Perch highly resembles sharpchin, redstripe, and yellowmouth rockfishes. To distinguish, the sharpchin rockfish is more orange in color and possesses an indented feature near the eyes, and a second anal spine longer than the third — features not found in POPs. On the other hand, the yellowmouth has black or yellow blotches in its mouth and has a less prominent knob on its lower jaw.
Pacific Ocean Perch larvae feed on zooplankton, whereas the juveniles and adults feed on krill, copepods, and small fishes. POPs school together and feed in the water column. Sadly, the Pacific Ocean Perch may fall prey to large benthic fishes like sperm whales, halibut, and sablefish.
The Pacific Ocean Perch measures up to 21 inches long and weighs about 5 pounds. Its maximum age is at least 100 years old.
The Pacific Ocean Perch is usually fished using the trawl method but some habitats are protected against this technique. The good news for anglers is that this species is available for commercial and recreational fishing all-year-round, the peak season being July to August. Under U.S. regulations, the Pacific Ocean Perch is responsibly managed and harvested. There are regulations to avoid the bycatch of POPs.
The Pacific Ocean Perch is reported to be not overfished in areas where they are aplenty like the Bering Sea, Pacific Coast, Aleutian Islands, and the Gulf of Alaska.
The Pacific Ocean Perches are primarily located offshore with depths ranging from 490 feet to 2,700 feet. Mature members of this fish species prefer the shallower depths during summer (from 490 to 1000 feet). During fall, they migrate to even deeper offshore areas and stay there until around May.
They are abundant on the coast of California and the Western Aleutian Islands in Alaska. They also swim the waters of (Honshu) Japan, British Columbia, and the Bering Sea.