Record-Sized Rockfish Not as Old as it Looked

Sentinel Staff Writer
    A big, ugly, old rockfish caught near Sitka last weekend turned out to be just big and ugly.
    The record-setting shortraker caught June 21 was large enough that, based on the size and ages of other rockfish, it was estimated to be as old as Pride and Prejudice (published in 1813) but testing revealed the fish to have been only as old as Meryl Streep: 64.
    Troy Tydingco, area manager for the Sitka Fish and Game office, said the fish was larger than the previous oldest rockfish caught in Alaska, which was a 205-year-old rougheye.
    Tydingco said past a certain length and age, the ratio of size to age becomes blurred.
    “The age, length, weight relationship kind of breaks down when you get to those really big fish,” Tydingco said. “He was just a really good grower.”
    The fish was caught by Henry Liebman of Seattle who was on a charter boat while visiting Sitka. The Sentinel’s story about the record fish made headlines across the country and overseas last week.
    The fish was caught 10 miles outside of Sitka at a depth of approximately 900 feet. It set the record for a shortraker rockfish at 39.08 pounds and 41 inches long. Its weight broke the previous rockfish record by almost half a pound. 
    By contrast, the oldest shortraker caught in Alaska was only about 32 inches long and it was 175 years old, Tydingco said.

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