G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

The fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) online

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1 1879. LCTKEN, CHB. : Korelobige Meddelelser oni nordiske Ulketwke (Cottoidei). <Aftryk f Vidensk. Medilel.
iirtturh. Foren. 1870, pp. 355-388.



262 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

Although the Rose-fish is much esteemed as an article of food, and is caught in considerable
numbers all along the coast of Maine and the British Provinces in the season when it frequents the
shallows near the shore, and in winter at Gloucester when flocking in large numbers into the
harbor, the most extensive fisheries are probably on the coast of Greenland, where they are highly
prized by the natives, who feed on the flesh and use the spines of the fins for needles, and in
Massachusetts Bay, where great quantities are taken by the Irish market-fishermen on trawl-
lines. In winter they are occasionally found in the New York markets, and on one or two occa-
sions have been brought in considerable numbers to New Haven, and even to Philadelphia.
The flesh is firm, rich, and delicate in flavor; the young fish, fried crisp, make an excellent substi-
tute for white-bait.

84. THE ROCK CODS OF THE PACIFIC.

By DAVID S. JORDAN.

[On the Pacific coast, as has already been stated, the fishes of this family, known as Rock-cod
and Rock-fish, are of great importance. They are discussed at length by Professor Jordan, who
writes:]

One of the most remarkable features of the Califoruian fish fauna is the enormous abundance
both in individuals and in species of the group of Scorpseuidai. All of them are excellent food-
lishes, and scarcely a boat returns from any kind of fishing in which these fishes do not form a
conspicuous part of the catch. In every fish-market they are found, and from their large size
and brilliant coloration they are everywhere the most conspicuous fishes on the stalls.

These fishes have so many traits in common, that a review of the group as a whole is desira-
ble before we proceed to the consideration of the several species.

NAMES. These fishes are universally known by the names of Rock-fish and Rock-cod. The
latter name is the one most commonly heard, the other name being apparently a reaction against
the obvious error of calling these fish "Cod." The name Rock-fish is an appropriate one, and in
time it will probably supplant that of Rock-cod. The name Cod or Cod-fish is never applied to
them without the accompanying "Rock." In the southern part of California, the name "Garrupa"
or "Grouper" is in common use, especially for the olivaceous species. This is a Portuguese word,
and belonged originally to the species of Epinephelm and related genera. Different species have
also special names, mostly given by the Portuguese fishermen. These are noticed below.

The average size of the species of the group is about fifteen inches in length, and a weight
of two or three pounds. Some of them reach a length of nearly three feet, and a weight of twelve
pounds. Nothing is known of their rate of growth.

The greatest abundance both of individuals and of species in this group is to be found from
Santa Barbara to San Francisco, the maximum about Monterey. They occur from Cerros Island,
where they are rather scarce, at least ap far as Kodiak, and other species similar are found on the
coasts of Japan, Chili, etc. The individuals are extremely local. Most of the species are found
about rocky reefs, often in considerable depths, and they probably stray but little from their abodes.
In general, the red species inhabit greater 'depths than the brown or green ones, and the latter
swim about more freely. Their abundance on certain reefs about Monterey and the Farallones is
doubtless being diminished; elsewhere there has been little danger of overfishing. All are preda-
tory and voracious, feeding mainly upon other fishes, and sometimes on crustaceans.

All of the species are ovo-viviparous. The eggs are small and exceedingly numerous, and are
hatched within the body. The eggs themselves are bright yellow. In the spring, at a season vary-
ing with the latitude and perhaps with different species, these yellow eggs turn to a grayish color.



TIIK KOCK CODS OF Till: PACIFIC.

If then exa ninotl, the two eyes of I ho young fish can be distinctly seen. I.; tier a slender body
appears, with traces of vertical tins, tho length then being about one-fourth to one-third of an inch.
They ;iro probaMx extruded at :ilnnit ilir length of one-third of mi inch, and in a very slender and
l>elluc:d ciniiliiiiiii. as I have never soon them in anymore advanced stage of development. Noth-
ing is Known of the modes of copulation, nor of the circumstances under which the young are
exoluili <!, lint the time of breeding is probably for the most part in May. Young fishes of one and
a hall ii> two inches are common in August, and in the fall they are large enough (S. panciitpinis,
flu rid UK) to be taken with hook and line from the wharves. Individuals of less than six or
eight inches are rare in the spring, and the fish of that length are probably a year old.

Tho enemies of these fishes are of course their predatory neighbors, and the larger individ-
uals prey upon the smaller. The hag-fish (Polistotremn) destroys considerable numbers. They are
usually very free from internal parasites.

All the members of this family rank high as food-fishes. The flesh is firm and white, and,
although not very delicate, is of a fair quality. That of Scorpama guttata is probably best; that of
s,'l><txtichthy>< myxtinux brings the lowest price in market, but the prejudice against the latter species
perhaps rests on its color.

s< ORPENE (Scorptrna guttata Girard). This species is known by the names "Scorpene," "Scor-
pion," and " Sculpin." "Scorpene" (Scorjrina), in common use among the Italian fishermen, is,
<f course, the name of Scorpa'na porcus, S'. scrofa, and other Mediterranean fishes, transferred to
this very similar North American fish. The wound made by the dorsal spines of this fish is
excessively painful, far more so than the sting of a bee, as though the spines had some venomous
secretion. The name Scorpccna, is evidently derived from this. This species reaches a length of
something over a foot and a weight of about two pounds. It is found only from Point Concepcion
south ward to Ascension Island, living about rocks and kelp, but often entering the bays. It is
generally common, and takes the hook freely. It feeds upon Crustacea and small fishes, and spawns
in spring. Nothing distinctive is known of its breeding habits. As a food-fish it ranks with the
Nest, being superior to the sjieeies of Selaxtichthys, and it always is in good demand wJere known.

BLACK-BANDED ROCK-FISH (Sebantichthyii nigrocinctun (Ayres) Gill). This species has, so far
as we know, received no distinctive name from the fishermen. It reaches a weight of about four
pounds and a length of eighteen to twenty inches. It ranges from Monterey northward, being
found only in deep water (ten to twenty fathoms). About San Francisco it is exceedingly rare, not
half a dozen usually coming into the markets in a year. In the Straits of Fuca and outside in the
open ocean it is tolerably abundant. The food and the breeding habits, so far as known, differ
little in this family, and the general remarks on the group apply to all the species of Selxwtichthyx.
A - a food-fish this species sells readily on account of its brilliant and attractive colors, second only
in brilliancy to those of the "Spanish Flag."

TKEE-FISH (Nebattichthy* serriceps Jor. & Gilb.). Wherever this species receives a distinctive
name, it is known as the "Tree-fish," an appellation originating with the Portuguese at Monterey,
and without obvious application. Southward it is confounded with other species as a Garrupa.
Its size is rather less than that of S. nigrocinctux, which it much resembles. It ranges from San
Martin Island to San Francisco, being found in rather deep water among rocks. It is most
common about the Santa Barbara Islands and is rare in the markets of San Francisco. It is a
handsomely-colored species, and therefore sells well in the markets.

SPECKLED GAERUPA (Sebaxtichthyx nebulomts (Ayres) Gill). This species is known as "Gar-
ni pa" and "Rock Cod," rarely receiving any distinctive name. It reaches a weight of throe and
one-half pounds. It ranges from Monterey to Puget Sound, being generally common at all points,



264 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

and most abundant northward. It lives in water of moderate depth. It forms about two per
cent, of the total rock-fish catch, and is always readily salable. It is the most attractive iu color
of any of the dark-colored species.

BLACK AND YELLOW GAREUPA (Sebastichthys chrysomelas Jor. & Gilb.). This species also
is confounded under the names "Garrupa" and "Rock-cod." It is one of the smaller species, reach-
ing a weight of about two pounds. It ranges from San Nicolas Island to San Francisco, and is
generally common in water of moderate depth, although not one of the most abundant species.
It is an attractive fish in color and therefore readily salable.

FLESH-COLORED GARRUPA (Sebastichthys carnatus Jor. & Gilb.). This species reaches a
somewhat larger size than the last, and ranges from Santa Barbara to San Francisco. About San
Francisco it is considerably more abundant, forming nearly seven per cent, of the total rock-
fish catch.

YELLOW-BACKED ROCK-FISH (Sebastichthys maliger Jor. & Gilb.). We have heard no dis-
tinctive name for this species. It ranges from Monterey to Puget Sound, in rather deep water-
It is not very common about San Francisco, but many are caught in the Straits of Fuca. It is one
of the largest of the species, reaching a weight of six or eight pounds. As a food-fish it is not n.s
good as some of the others.

RED GARRUPA (Sebastichthys caurinws and subsp. vexillaris Jor. & Gilb.). This species is
known as "Garrupa," " Rock-fish," and " Rock-cod." It reaches a length of twenty inches and a
weight of six pounds. It ranges from San Nicolas to Puget Sound, being generally common in
water of moderate depth. It is subject to greater variations than any of the other species in the
different parts of its range. It forms about seven per cent, of the total rock-cod catch. Its flesh
ranks as about average.

GRASS ROCK-FISH (Sebastichthys rastrelliger Jor. & Gilb.). This species, like all those of dusky
color, is known as "Garrupa." At San Francisco it is often called "Grass Rock-fish," perhaps
from its color. It reaches a weight of two to four pounds. It lives in water of moderate depth,
and is rather common everywhere from San Nicolas to Humboldt Bay. Its abundance is greatest
south of Point Concepcion. It is said to be the best of all the Rock-fish for the table, and to be
an especial favorite with the Jews.

BROWN ROCK-FISH (Sebastichthys auricnlatus (Girard) Gill). This species seldom receives a
distinctive name from the fishermen. It reaches a weight of three or four pounds, although as
usually seen in the markets it is smaller than any other of the species. This is owing to the fact
that its young are caught iu seines in the bay, while those of other species are less frequently
taken, and then only in the open ocean. It ranges from San Martin Island to Puget Sound, living
iu shallow water and entering all the bays, and being taken with a hook from all the wharves. It
is thus apparently more abundant than any other species, although in actual numbers probably
many of the deep-water forms (S. favidus,pinniger, rosaceus) far exceed it. As a food-fish it is held
in lower esteem than most of the others.

PESCE VEEMIGLIA (Sebastichthys chlorostictus Jor. & Gilb.). This species is known as " Pesce
Vermiglia," or "Vermilion-fish," by the Portuguese fishermen at Monterey. It is known only from
Monterey Bay and the Farallones, occurring about the rocks in considerable depths of water and
being taken only with the hook. In its native haunts it is not a rare species. It reaches a weight,
of three or four pounds, and is excellent food.

FLY-FISH (Sebastichthys rhodochloris Jor. & Gilb.). The inexplicable name of " Fly-fish" isgiven
to this species by the fishermen at Monterey. Like the preceding,-it is known only from very deep



THE ROCK FISHES OF CALIFORNIA. 265

water about Monterey and the Farallones. It is out- of tli>- smallest species, rawly weighing more
than a pound.

CORSAIR (Sebantichthyg rosaceus (Grd.) Lock). This species is known to the Portuguese fish-
ermen at Monti rev by the name "Corsair," a name of unknown application transplanted from the
Azores. It is one of the smallest species, rarely weighing more than a pound and a half. It
ranges from Santa Barbara to San Francisco, in deep water, and, where found, it is the most abun-
dant of the red species. When the weather permits outside fishing with trawl-lines, this is one of
the most abundant species in the San Francisco markets. It ranks high as a food-fish.

SPOTTED CORSAIR (Sebantichthys constellates Jor. & Gilb.). In size, distribution, habits, and
value this species agrees with the "Corsair." It is, however, considerably less abundant, although
not a rare fish in the markets of San Francisco.

YELLOW ROCK-FISH (Sebastichthys umbrosus Jor. & Gilb.). Two specimens only of this species
are known, both of which are from Santa Barbara.

SPANISH FLAG (Sebastichthytt rubrivinctus Jor. & Gilb.). At Monterey this species is known
by the very appropriate name of "Spanish Flag," from its broad bands of red, white, and red. It
reaches a weight of about six pounds. It is found in very deep water on rocky reefs about Santa
Barbara and Monterey. It is perhaps the least common in the markets of all the species, except
In coloration it is the most brilliant fish on the coast.



RED ROCK-FISH (Sebasticlithys ruber (Ayres) Lock.). This species is usually the "Red Rock-
fish "par excellence. At Monterey it is called by the Portuguese "Tambor," a name evidently
transferred from some Atlantic species. It probably reaches a larger size than any other species,
attaining a weight of twelve or more pounds. It ranges from Santa Barbara to Puget Sound, its
abundance increasing to the northward. It lives in water of considerable depth. In the markets
of San Francisco it is one of the most common species. Large specimens about Victoria, in the
Straits of Fuca, had the skull above the brain infected by an encysted parasitic worm. Great
numbers of them were seen in the Straits of Fuca, according to Mr. Swan, swimming stupidly near
the surface, so torpid that the Indians killed them with clubs. According to the Indians, they had
been struck by the Thunder-bird, which, with its companion, the Lightning-fish, causes many of
the phenomena in that region. The smaller specimens of this species rank well as food-fishes; the
larger ones are likely to be coarse or tough.

RASHER (Sebastichthys miniatus Jor. & Gilb.). This species is known to the Portuguese at
Monterey as the ' Rasher," a name of unknown origin and orthography. It ranges from Santa
Barbara to San Francisco, living in water of moderate depth. It is comparatively common, and is
frequently seen in the markets, though in much less numbers than 8. ruber and 8. pinniger. In size
and quality it agrees closely with S. pinniger.

ORANGE ROCK-FISH (Sebastichthys pinniger (Gill) Lock.). This species is usually called simply
"Red Rock-cod" or "Red Rock-fish" and not distinguished from the two preceding. The Portu-
guese at Monterey know it by the name "Fliaum," a word of unknown origin. It is one of
the largest species, reaching a weight of eight or ten pounds. It ranges from Monterey to Puget
Sound, being generally very abundant in deep water, where it is taken on trawl-lines. This
is probably the most abundant of the larger species. At San Francisco individuals are often
found with black discolored areas, looking like ink-blotches, on their sides. No cause for this has
been noticed, and if it be a disease it does not seem to discommode the fish. In the market this
species grades with S. ruber, and, like it, is often split and salted.

GREEN GARRUPA (Sebastickthys atrovirens Jor. & Gilb.). This species is commonly known
as "Garrupa" and "Green Rock-fish," being rarely distinguished Irom S. rastrclliger. It reaches a



266 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

weight of about three pounds. It ranges from San Diego to Monterey, beiug more southerly in
its distribution than the other species. It lives in rocky places, in rather shallow water, and is gen-
erally common, especially south of Point Concepcion. It is considered excellent food.

REINA (Sebastichthys elongates (Ayres) Gill). This species is known as " Reiua" (Queen) at
Monterey. It is a small fish, reaching a weight of less than two pounds, and lives in deep water
abonr Monterey and the Farallones. It is never very common in the markets, although frequently
taken in considerable numbers.

RED ROCK-FISH OF ALASKA (Sebastichthys proriger Jor. & Gilb.). In habits this species agrees
with. N. elongatuf. It is usually still smaller, rarely weighing more than a pound. Its range
extends northward to the Aleutian Islands, where it reaches a large size, and is of considerable
importance as a food-fish.

VIUVA (Sebastichthys ovalis (Ayres) Lock.). This species is known at Monterey as "Viuva"
(Widow) ; the reason not evident. It reaches a weight of three or four pounds. It is found from
Santa Barbara to Monterey, in deep water, and is seldom brought to market.

Sebastichthys entomelas Jor. & Gilb., is a species very similar to the preceding in size and
habits. Thus far it has been only found in deep water outside of Monterey Bay.

BLACK ROCK-FISH (Sebastichthys mystinus Jor. & Gilb.). This species, usually called the
"Black Rock-fish," in Puget Sound is known, with its more abundant relative, Sebastichthys mela-
nops, as the "Black Bass." The Portuguese at Monterey call it "Pesce Pr6tre," or Priest-fish, in
allusion to its dark colors, so different from those of most of the other members of the family. It
reaches a weight of five pounds, but as usually seen in the markets varies from two to three. It
ranges from Santa Barbara to Vancouver's Island, inhabiting water of moderate depths. It is
much more abundant about Monterey and San Francisco than either northward or southward, and
large numbers are taken in Tomales Bay. In the markets of San Francisco it is found, taking the
year through, in greater numbers than any other species. It sells at a lower price than the others,
its color causing a prejudice against it, although the quality of the flesh doubtless differs little
from that of the rest.

ALASKA BLACK ROCK-FISH (Sebastichthys ciliatxs (Tiles.) Jor. & Gilb.). Specimens of this
species from the Aleutian Islands are in the National Museum. Nothing distinctive is known in
regard to its habits, which probably agree with those of S. melanops.

SPOTTED BLACK ROCK-FISH (Sebastichthys melanops (Grd.) Jor. & Gilb.). This species is
confounded with S. mystinus by the fishermen, under the name of "Black Bass" in Puget Sound,
" Black Rock-fish" in San Francisco, and "Pesce Pretre" at Monterey. In size and value it agrees
with S. mystinus. Its range is more northerly, ffom Monterey to Puget Sound, being not very
common at San Francisco, and one of the most abundant species in Puget Sound.

YELLOW-TAIL ROCK-FISH, (Sebastichthys flavidm (Ayres) Lock.). This species is occasionally
called the " Gren Rock-fish " or " Rock-cod " at San Francisco. At Monterey it is always known by
the appropriate name of " Yellow -tail," the caudal fin being always distinctly yellow. To distinguish
it from the Yellow-tail of farther south we may call it the Yellow-tail Rock-fish. This species reaches
a weight of six or seven pounds, but its usual weight is about two. It ranges from Santa Catalina
Island to Cape Mendocino, and is taken both in deep water and near shore. About Monterey and
San Francisco it is very abundant, and is one of the principal species in the markets. As a food-
fish it is considered as one of the best in the group.

BOCCACCIO (Sebastodes paucispinis (Ayres) Gill). About Monterey and San Francisco this
species is known as "Boccaccio" or "Boccac"' (bocatch) to the Italians, and as "Merou" (mdroo) to
the Portuguese. American fishermen use the name "Jack," and those who fish for the young from



Till: Hot K I I SI IKS OF CAI.iroKXIA. 267

tin- whai\es i-all them ' Tom cod." The name "Boccaccio" (Big-mouth) is very appropriate;
Mima" is transferred from Atlantic species of Epiii>lu In* ; ".lack" comes from the species of
/.'.N.-.i' :iiil xti:.tt<nlini which in the Southern States are called by that name. This species is one
of the largest of the group, reaching a weight of twelve to fifteen pounds. Its average size in the
markets is greater than that of any of the others. It ranges from the Santa Barbara Islands to
C;i|>.' M ndocino. It inhabits reefs in deep water, only the young coming near the shore. It is
rather more abundant southward than about San Francisco. It is, however, a common market -
lisli, and its hVsh is considered excellent. It is probably the most voracious of the family.

Five secies of the genus Sebastichthyii, namely, 8. melanops, S. cauriniui, S. maliger, S.proriger,
and N. ciliatiin, attain to large size and considerable commercial importance in Alaska, and are
disonssed by Dr. Bean in his paper on the "SHORE FISHERIES OF ALASKA" in another section of
tliis work. 8. melanops is called " Black Bass" at Sitka.

85. THE BOCK TROUTS CHIEID2E..

By DAVID S. JORDAN.

A family of fish of considerable importance on our Pacific coast is that of the Chiridte, or Bock
Trouts, no representatives of which are known in the Atlantic. One or two species of the family
occur in the Sea of Japan.

BOBEOATA (Hejcagrammus Stelkri Tilesius). This species is known in Puget Sound by the
Italian name of " Boregata" or " BoregatV The name " Starling" is applied to some fish, supposed
by us to be this species, in the Straits of Fuca. It reaches a length of fifteen inches and a weight
of three pounds. It ranges from Puget Sound to Kamtschatka. lu Puget Sound it is compara-
tively abundant, living about rocks. It spawns in July. It feeds on crustaceans, worms, and
fishes, and apparently gets its food on the bottom in deep water, as the animals taken from
its stomach are often of a kind not seen near shore. Its intestines are very often full of long
tabloid worms, supposed to be parasitic. As a food-fish, it ranks with the other Kock-trout, being
of fair quality, but inferior to Ophiodon and Sebastichthyit.

GREEN ROCK TROUT (Hexagmmmus lagocephaJu (Pallas) Jor. & Gilb.). This species is
confounded with others of this genus under the names of "Rock Trout," "Sea Trout," "Horegaf,"
and "Bodieron." At Cape Flattery this fish and the preceding receive the Indian name of

T-rbarqna." In size and value it corresponds very closely to the preceding. It ranges from
Monterey to Kamtschatka, being nowhere very abundant, although not a rare fish. Its food is
largely crustacean. Its flesh, like that of Ophiodon, is often colored green.

SPOTTED ROCK TROUT (Htxayrammu* decngrammux (Pallas) Jor. & Gilb.). The name "Bore-

a i a "' is applied to this species by the Italians on Puget Sound. The name " Rock-cod" is also given
to it. From San Francisco southward, the names "Rock Trout" and "Sea Trout" are common.
Tin' Portuguese at Monterey call it " Bodieron." It reaches a length of fifteen inches and a weight
of two or three pounds. It ranges from San Luis Obispo to Alaska, and is much more generally
common than any of the other species, and large numbers are brought into the market of San
I'rancisco. It lives in rocky places at no great depth. It feeds voraciously on Crustacea and
worms. It spawns in July. It dies at once on being taken from the water, and the flesh becomes
rigid and does not keep as well as that of the rock-fish. It is a food fish of fair quality, but not
extra. The sexes are very unlike in color, and have been taken for distinct species.

CrLTrs COD (OpMoAon elongatm Girard). This species is universally called "Cod-fish"
where the true cod is unknown. About Puget Sound the English call it "Ling." Among the



268 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

Americans the word "coil" is used with some distinctive adjective, as Cultus Cod ("cultus" mean-
ing, in the Chinook jargon, of little worth), "Bastard Cod," "Buffalo Cod," etc. The name "Blue
Cod" is also given to it from the color of its flesh. The name "Rock Cod" applied to other Chiroids
and to Sebastichthys, and thence even transferred to Serranus, comes from an appreciation of their



Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 47 of 146)