The age of the pending record 39.08-pound shortraker rockfish caught by Henry Liebman of Seattle on June 21 while fishing out of Sitka, Alaska with Angling Unlimited charters, has been determined to be much less than originally thought.
News when the fish was first caught had the age of the rockfish at 200-years-old, but recent findings by Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Juneau have determined it to be 64-years-old.
“It’s impossible to age a rockfish once it has matured just by looking at it,” Kristen Green, a groundfish project leader for the Southeast Region of Alaska said in a news release. “The otoliths are the only way to accurately determine its age.”
The oldest aged rockfish, a rougheye, was 205 years old and measured 32 inches. Liebman’s fish was 41 inches long and many believed that because of its size that the fish was much older.
Green was hesitant to jump on the 200 year old bandwagon because of her knowledge of rockfish biology.
Shortrakers tend to mature at 10-years-old, and reach their peak size shortly after. The average age life expectancy is varied, which further complicates identifying their age by sight.
Green said in the news release that Liebman’s fish could have been anywhere between 50 to 175 years old.
I will have a more in-depth story on this in my Sunday outdoor notebook.