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You don’t have to go down to the tropics to swim among colourful fish. From spiny quillbacks to red-striped tigers, rockfish in British Columbia come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and colours.

Most people encounter these fish only at restaurants, although they may not even be aware of it. Rockfish often show up on menus as cod, bass or snapper, and it’s hard to associate the tasty food on a plate with the important fish populations living on Canada’s West Coast.

Rockfish are an important part of B.C.’s ocean ecosystem. They are food for harbour seals, sea lions and other fish. By feeding on smaller creatures like shrimps, crabs, and smaller fish, they help keep the ecosystem in balance.

Overfishing is hurting B.C.’s rockfish populations. The Vancouver Aquarium’s research divers are going out into the field to identify ways to protect them.

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