The Status of California Scorpionfish off Southern California in 2004


Background Information

California Scorpionfish
In 2005, three species1 under the Marine Life Management Act Nearshore Fishery Management Plan were assessed and accepted for management purposes in California: California scorpionfish (Scorpaena guttata), gopher rockfish (Sebastes carnatus), and cabezon (Scorpaenichthys Marmoratus). This was the first assessment of the California scorpionfish stock in southern California waters.

Assessment results indicated that scorpionfish biomass declined before 1980 and has since increased (healthy state) mainly due to changes in recruitment. The status was particularly sensitive to the inclusion/exclusion of an abundance (sanitation) index in the stock assessment. The results including this index were considered more likely, which estimated a larger biomass at the end of the time series. Details of the uncertainties in the assessment are outlined in the Stock Assessment Review (STAR) report.

The California scorpionfish 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.