Citizen Science Young of Year (YOY) Rockfish SCUBA Photo Project

Rockfish Need your Help!

Rockfish in Puget Sound form part of the diverse marine community that attracts thousands of divers each year, yet monitoring rockfish populations is challenging due to their habitat usage and sporadic occurrence in the Puget Sound.  However, a large amount of information must be collected to assess rockfish recovery and divers can help fill that role.  We are organizing a large-scale effort to measure recruitment of young of year (YOY – fish that have not yet reached one year of age) and are engaging scuba divers to assist. 

Why are we interested in YOY rockfish?

Assessing the numbers and locations of YOY rockfish will help us understand preferred habitats and population characteristics.  In addition, collecting data across multiple years and comparing with oceanic and climatic variables could clarify conditions that lead to successful reproduction.  This effort is a key part of understanding what conditions lead to successful survival of young rockfish.

How can recreational divers help?

If you spot a YOY yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish or bocaccio while scuba diving, snap a picture and note your location and send us the note to rockfishid@noaa.gov.  It’s that simple!  If you are not sure of the species send it to us anyway. 

Where can I find rockfish while diving?

In short, anywhere in Puget Sound (including the San Juan Islands). We are currently working on development of preferred sampling sites throughout Puget Sound that may inform dive locations.  YOY rockfish can be found in a variety of habitats so we encourage you to branch out and try different dive sites that may feature eelgrass, kelp, rocky reef or soft-bottom.  You never know when you will find a new favorite dive site!  To prepare for participation, you can start looking at rockfish identification materials found on the WDFW and REEF websites listed below.  Most importantly, you can keep diving in Puget Sound and start (or continue) keeping an eye out for juvenile rockfish!  

Download the flier

Rockfish Identification

Species Gallery - Pacific Coast

Is your dive club is interested in learning more about rockfish?

We would be happy to speak at your dive club and will do our best to make it to one of your meetings.  You may contact James Selleck (James.Selleck@noaa.gov) or Dan Tonnes (Dan.Tonnes@noaa.gov) for more information.

2015 - 2016 Rockfish YOY Summary Report

YOY Rockfish Citizen Science Survey Guide