Remember the recent story about an Alaska rockfish that was estimated to be 200 years old, give or take a few years?
It turns out, after dissection by Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists, that the state-record 39-pound shortraker rockfish was only 64.
That's still pretty old for a fish, but hardly ancient and not remotely close to the state age record: a rougheye rockfish that was determined to have been 205 when it was hauled from the depths.
Kristen Green, a state fisheries biologist, explained that it's impossible to accurately guess the age of a rockfish merely by visual inspection.
However, by inspecting their otoliths, which are sort of like ear bones, an age determination can be made.
“The otoliths are the only way to accurately determine its age,” Green told Angling Unlimited.
Despite all the reports and headlines about the "200-year-old fish," and this website fell for it as well, Green had estimated the fish to be anywhere between 50 and 200.
That was a smart guess and she turned out to be right.
The shortraker rockfish was caught off Sitka on June 21 by Seattle's Henry Liebman. It was hooked at a depth of about 850 feet.
--Photo shows Capt. David (left) and Henry Liebman after Liebman's catch was brought ashore