Black Rockfish in Carmel Bay (2006 – 2007)

Kristen Green, a recent MLML graduate student, completed her thesis project investigating Movements of Black Rockfish (Sebastes melanops) in Carmel Bay, California.

Movements of 23 sub-adult and 10 juvenile black rockfish (Sebastes melanops) implanted with acoustic transmitters were monitored during 16 months in Carmel Bay, California.  Most tagged sub-adult black rockfish (14 fish) were resident to the study area (>75% time).  The remaining 9 sub-adult black rockfish had low residency (<35% time).  All tagged juvenile black rockfish vacated the study area within 3 months of release.  When tagged fish were in the study area, mean activity space was < 0.4km2.  From October to May, sub-adult black rockfish during daytime moved to deeper waters offshore, returning at night.  In the summer, diurnal movements of sub-adult black rockfish decreased, perhaps due to locally abundant food resources associated with seasonal upwelling.  The black rockfish is currently managed with other nearshore, residential rockfishes, yet the complex movement patterns of black rockfish described in this study should be considered in a species-specific management plan.