Status of Cabezon in California Waters as Assessed in 2005


Background Information

In 2005, three species1 under the Marine Life Management Act Nearshore Fishery Management Plan were assessed and accepted for management purposes in California: cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus), gopher rockfish (Sebastes carnatus) and California scorpionfish (Scorpaena guttata). This was the second quantitative assessment of the California cabezon resource, following the initial assessment conducted in 2003. Separating cabezon into two sub-stocks [northern California (NCS) and southern California (SCS) sub-stocks, with a break at Point Conception] was a considerable improvement from the previous assessment.

The cabezon stock assessment showed the two sub-populations to be relatively healthy, with the NCS considered healthier than the SCS. The greatest uncertainty in the SCS was the size of the 2000 year-class, where the greatest uncertainty in the NCS was the natural mortality rate. Details of the uncertainties in the assessment are outlined in the Stock Assessment Review (STAR) report.

The cabezon stock assessment is available in PDF format online or a request can be made to receive a CD-ROM containing copies of (1) the stock assessment and (2) the STAR report by contacting Ms. Meisha Key at (831) 420-3973 or Should you need additional information, please contact Ms. Deb Wilson-Vandenberg, Nearshore Fishery Management Plan Implementation Coordinator, at (831) 649-2892 or

1Kelp greenling (Hexagrammos decagrammus) were also assessed in 2005, but the STAR panel concluded that the results for the California sub-stock were inadequate as the basis for management.