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Rockfish / Tim Athens / Longline

Rockfish / Tim Athens / Longline

About Your Fisherman: Tim Athens

Tim lives in Oxnard and has been fishing since 1974, right out of high school, getting his start in the recreational party-boat industry. He soon found he enjoyed commercial fishing better.

F/V Outer Banks is his 3rd boat and he hopes it is his last. He has participated in squid, shark, near-shore, rockfish, black cod, etc. He's also been active throughout his career in fisheries management, working with the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and helping to design new legislation for various state fisheries as well to help ensure commercial fishing survives alongside habitat protections.

Tim's deckhand Austin Jeffcoat has been fishing since he was a young kid with his dad.

About the Fishery:

Our Rockfish were taken by longline.

The mixed-species rockfish fishery is managed by depth zone. Each fishermen is allotted a quota, the total pounds of each species of rockfish they are allowed to catch each month. A determined, experienced fisherman can catch his quota in just a few days of fishing.

After decades of decline, rockfish populations started booming about 10 years ago. This turn around happened because large areas of rockfish fishing grounds were closed to fishing in the 1990's and early 2000's to set up 'Rockfish Conservation Areas' that gave the populations a break from heavy fishing pressure. Much of the trawling fishery was replaced by hook and line and trap based fishing. These measures have done their job faster than anyone thought possible. Now that the populations are very healthy, fisheries managers are starting to reopen the RCAs a little a time, by extending the allowed depth zone of fishing.

Now ocean conservation groups actually want to help increase catch levels of California rockfish (and Pacific groundfish generally) because of our local fisheries provide inexpensive but high quality domestic seafood in high volume, and stem demand for unsustainably caught foreign seafood. That's not something you hear too often!!



Rockfish has tender, lean meat and a light but succulent flavor. It holds together well in any type of cooking, and its mild taste supports all flavors, from sweet to savory. You'll know it's done when the flesh has become opaque and begun to flake apart. It is excellent poached, baked or grilled.

A favorite prep method is a simple pan fry in coconut or avocado oil. The fillet is first dipped in egg, scrambled with a little salted milk, coated with flour and salt, and then cooked on medium to high heat until brown in hot oil. Two to three minutes per side is all it takes!

Your fish is coming skin-on. Here is a demonstration of how to remove the skin if you'd prefer to eat your fillet skinless.

Check out our recipes pages for rockfish and 'any white fish' for some delicious options, and click on the image above to learn how Chef PA prepares pan-seared rockfish.