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Ben Frable, Brian Sidlauskas, and collaborators from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State used genetic and morphological evidence to recognize the Deacon Rockfish (Sebastes diaconus) as a distinct, commercially important species native to the North Pacific between northern California and southern British Columbia. The species was previously conflated with Blue Rockfish (Sebastes mystinus), and stock assessments and biological information up until 2015 are of uncertain value because they are based on a mix of the two species. As a direct result of this work, the most recent version of the Oregon Conservation Strategy highlights the need to fill several data gaps to ensure effective monitoring of the newly described species, including the need for new information on “population status, trends, and stock delineation” and “fishery-independent population monitoring.”
Did you know? The name Sebastes diaconus is derived from the Latinized ancient Greek διa;κονος, the name for an acolyte or assistant to a priest. This name complements the species name of S. mystinus, which was intended to mean “priest” (Jordan and Evermann, 1898).