Other Names: Rockcod, Red Rockfish, Red Snapper
Sustainable Fishing Methods: Hand Operated Hook and Line, Scottish Seine, Bottom Trawl
Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Rating: Best Choice
Biological Information: Chilipepper Rockfish are one of 70 different types of Rockfish along the west coast. They have a lifespan of about 35 years and are quick to mature, with males maturing at 2 years old and females by about 4 years old. Chilipepper are viviparous, meaning they breed through internal fertilization and give birth to live fish. The juveniles prefer shallow water, while the adults are found within deep rocky reefs and muddy/sandy bottoms feeding on small crustaceans, squid and various species of other fish. Adults are easy to identify by their distinct red-orange color, protruding jaw and spineless head. Chilipepper Rockfish has a medium, firm flesh which makes it versatile for a variety of preparations. Chilipepper’s are often referred to as Rockcod or mislabeled as Snapper.
Sustainability: Chilipepper Rockfish have made a miraculous recovery and Monterey Bay Seafood Watches now rates them as a Best Choice when caught by Scottish Seine or by the California Groundfish Collective (CGC). Rockfish fisheries are highly regulated and use implemented sustainable catch limits and as well as specific gear modifications that have greatly helped to reduce habitat destruction along the seafloor as well as helped to reduce bycatch. Along with a regulated fishery, Chilipepper’s are fast growing and have an early maturity rate which contributes to making them a great sustainable choice.