Archive video: Fish Species of Race Rocks

 kelp greenling  herring  wolf eel  Sculpins feeding
 Kelp Greenling Hexagrammas decagrammus Pacific Herring in a feeding frenzy with Krill : Clupea harengus pallasi  Wolf Eel : Anarrhichthys ocellatus  Tidepool Sculpin eating a mussel Oligocottus maculosus
 illegal fishing  ling cod  cabezon  Black Rockfish
 There is a sports fishing closure in the ecological reserve, however we still get people claiming ignorance of the fact .  Ling Cod Ophidon elongatus  Cabezon: Scorpaenichthyes marmoratus  Black Rockfish: Sebastes melanops
 Tiger rockfish
 Tiger Rockfish Sebastes nigrocinctus


Ophiodon elongatus: Ling Cod-The Race Rocks Taxonomy


Spawning takes place from December to March .Females deposit their eggs in a mass under the rocks in shallow water .The eggs vary around 3.5 millimeters in diameter when water hardened and have a tough membranous shell.The newly hatched young are 7 to 10 millimeters long and have blue eyes.The yolk sac is absorbed in about 10 days .After a few weeks growth, the young fish are attracted to lights at night .Females reach 1 meter at 10 to 14 years .Male seldom exceed 1 meter in 12 years.Newly maturing females produces (60,000)100,000 to 150,000 eggs. Large females may produce as many as 500,000 eggs.

HART, J.L, Pacific Fishes of Canada, FISHERIES RESEARCH BOARD OF CANADA. Ottawa, 1973


-Lingcod have been over fished in British Columbia to the extent that there is now a closure on the fishing .They have been protected at Race Rocks since the fishing closure in 1990 .Divers see them frequently in water 6 to 12 meters depth.Their eggs masses appear on vertical rock walls in protected niches the adult fish patrols and defends the egg mass from predators. It will attack divers during incubation period in January and February.


Report from the Vancouver Aquarium on Link Cod Egg mass surveys.

From DFO press July, 2002: “Lingcod Conservation Measures Strengthened”

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced today the expansion of management measures in the recreational fishery for the protection of lingcod in the Strait of Georgia.

A 2001 Pacific Scientific Advice Review Committee (PSARC) report on lingcod confirmed that, despite a variety of conservation measures in recent years, lingcod stocks in the Strait of Georgia remain at low levels. Fisheries and Oceans Canada had delayed opening the Strait of Georgia recreational lingcod fishery pending further analysis of the PSARC information and review of additional material received from the recreational community.

After careful consideration of all the information, the Department has decided to maintain the recreational closure for lingcod fishing in the Strait of Georgia (Areas 13 to 19, and Areas 28 and 29). If a lingcod is incidentally caught in these Areas, it should then be immediately released back into the water. The recreational lingcod fishery will continue in the North Coast and on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Harvest by First Nations for food, social and ceremonial purposes will continue in the Strait of Georgia. The impact of this fishery is small.

Since 1990, the commercial lingcod fishery in the Strait of Georgia has been closed. In the recreational fishery, management measures have included an eight month winter closure (October to May) to protect nest guarding males, a size limit restriction (to allow a fish to reproduce prior to harvest), and daily and annual catch limits. However, until a sustained improvement is noted for these stocks of concern, the Department feels that additional measures are required.

Like rockfish, lingcod are believed to be fairly sedentary, livingmost of their lives in the same rocky area or subtidal reef. However, unlike rockfish, the mortality of lingcod in catch-and-release fisheries is low (less than 10 per cent).

As an important component of both the recreational and commercial groundfish fisheries, lingcod are also expected to benefit from the inshore rockfish conservation strategy that is being developedand implemented. Inshore rockfish conservation measures, such as fishing restrictions in selected areas on the coast, will assist with protecting and rebuilding both inshore rockfish and lingcod stocks. In addition, a stock assessment framework for lingcod will be developed, which will further our understanding of lingcod and their distribution.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has made a commitment to ensure the sustainability of British Columbia’s inshore rockfish and lingcod fisheries for the benefit of Canadians today and in the future. With the cooperation of all harvesters, lingcod and inshore rockfish stocks can be protected and rebuilt.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region

FISH BASE reference

Dec-2002- Fariba Hussaini, (PC yr 29)

Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterigii
Order Scorpaeniformes
Family Hexagrammidae
Subfamily Ophiodontinae
Genus Ophiodon
Species elongatus
Common Name: Lingcod

Anarrhichthys ocellatus: Wolf Eel –The Race Rocks Taxonomy

Anarrhichthys ocellatus


This video shows Pearson College Diver Jason Reid with a wolf eel and was broadcast live in the Underwater Safari Program in October 1992

Description: Although the behaviors of the wolf eel are relatively limited at this moment, they still deem to be one of the most interesting species found in the waters. Its name originates from the greek word Anarhichas-– a fish in which the wolf eel resembles– and the latin word ocellatus which means eye-like spots. In general, Wolf-eels are easily to identify. There name suggests that they resemble eel like structures which range in colour from grey to brown or green. Starting from a young age, their coloration starts with a burnt orange spotted look graduallty changing into a dominant grey for males and brown for females. The males and females both have a dorsal fin that stretches from head to the end of their body. On average, a Wolf-eel is seen to possess a body of 2 meters long and characterized by a unique pattern of spots that appear to be individualized both in males and in females. In addition, the Wolf-eel possesses a large square head coupled with powerful jaws and canine teeth allowing for easier mastication– a beneficial adaptation to its environment of hard-shelled animals.
Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
SuperOrder Acanthoptergygii
Order Perciformes
SubOrder Zoarcoide
Family Anarhichadidae
Genus Anarrhichthys
Species ocellatus
Common Name: Wolf-eel

Habitat and Range: Wolf-eels can most abundantly be found from the sea of Japan and the Aleutian islands continuing southwards to imperial beach, Southern California. Wolf-eels live from barely subtidal waters to 740 feet (Love, 1996). The island of Racerocks is one of the sites in the Pacific Northwest in which the Wolf-eel can be found. Exploring the island, the most common places would be near the Rosedale reef and along the cliff near the docks. The rocky reefs and stony bottom shelves at shallow and moderate depths serve to be the abodes of the Wolf-eel. They will usually stake out a territory in a crevice, den or lair in the rocks. In addition, the Wolf-eel possesses a long, slender body which allows them to squeeze into their rocky homes. During the juveniles years of the Wolf-eel, they can most commonly be found in the upper part of the water, residing there for about two years. As the Wolf-eel ages, it will slowly migrate to the ocean floor and maintain an active lifestyle. Eventually, the Wolf-eel will find a rock shelter and “vegetate” for the remainder of its lifespan.

Diet: The adaptation of the Wolf-eel’s jaw to crush hard objects, as mentioned, deems to be beneficial for eating other organisms around its environment. The gourment delicacies that the Wolf-eel feeds upon are crustaceans, sea urchins, mussels, clams, snails some other fishes.

Mating and Other Interesting Facts: In aquaria, males and females form pairs at about 4 years of age and produce eggs at 7 years old. Spawning usually occurs from October into late winter. A male will butt his head against the female’s abdomen then wrap himself around her as a sign for a mating call. It has been found that the male fertilizes the eggs as they are laid and up to 10 000 eggs can be released at a single time. The father and mother will then wrap themselves around the egg masses and will guard the eggs for about 13-16 weeks when the eggs will then hatch. Possible predators that prey on the eggs include Benthic rockfishes and kelp greenlings. This process will continue periodically and repetitively for the lifespan of a Wolf-eel as it has been found that Wolf-eel’s mate for life.

Conservation Notes: At the moment, many fishers use rockhopper trawls to fish rough, rocky sea floors. This method causes the destruction of the rocky reefs in which the Wolf-eel resides. At the current moment, scientists are calling for a halt in the use of rockhopper trawls and an alternative method of using longline traps which don’t harm the rocky reefs.

References: Love, Milton, Probably more than you want to know about the fishes of the Pacific Coast: A humorous guide to Pacific fishes, California, Really Big Press, 1996, pg. 298
Lamb, Andy and Edgell, Phil, Coastal Fishes of the Pacific Northwest, BC Canada, Harbour Publishing, 1986, pg. 94.
Other members of the  Class Actinopterygii at Race Rocks.

taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy
and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams.
Dec. 2001 Zaheer Kanji, (PC) Edmonton Alberta


Diving with a Wolf Eel at Race Rocks

In October of 1992, Lester Pearson College with the collaboration of the Royal BC Museum, and many volunteer organizations in the Victoria community helped to operate the week-long live TV program, ” Underwater Safari.” This video is of Pearson College student Jason Reid ( PC yr. 18) discovering a wolf eel Anarrhichthys ocellatus while the program was broadcasting live. Cameraman Darryl Bainbridge followed the huge fish for some time and caught it feeding on a green sea urchin.