Want to count rockfish with our rockfish experts? Join the Vancouver Aquarium’s survey team! At the moment, volunteer divers in B.C. can start by helping us count lingcod egg masses.

Neither cods nor linguists

Lingcod like to live in the same places as rockfish. Their population has gone way down due to overfishing, and now it’s illegal to fish for them in parts of British Columbia. The females lay eggs in big clumps, called egg masses, that look like styrofoam. It's easy to find out the age of young female lingcod by the size of their egg masses.

Size DOES matter

Grapefruit-sized egg masses mean that the female is probably 3 years old. A 4 year old female lays an egg mass about the size of a cantaloupe, and a female that’s 5 years or older can lay an egg mass that’s the size of a watermelon.

Researchers use the age of the females to figure out if the lingcod are still being fished in places where they’re supposed to be protected.
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre

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