REEF at the Channel Islands NMS

REEF Stats

Top 10 Most Frequently Sighted Fish
  1. California Sheephead
  2. Blacksmith
  3. Senorita
  4. Kelp Bass
  5. Painted Greenling
  6. Blackeye Goby
  7. Garibaldi
  8. Opaleye
  9. Black Perch
  10. Pile Perch

Educational Resources

Blue Frontier @ National Geographic - features classroom activities that evaluate the effect of water temperature on fishes

About the Sanctuary

The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is located 25 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, and includes the waters surrounding Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara islands. Forests of giant kelp are home to many different fishes and invertebrates. Many species of marine mammals and birds also call the Sanctuary home. Two major water currents collide in the sanctuary (one warm and one cold), resulting in distinctive environments between the northern and southern islands. CINMS Website

Current REEF Projects

REEF Special Projects in the CINMS includes reserve monitoring, previous training, Advanced Assessment Team Surveys and Field Surveys

Fish Features

The six species featured represent some of the most common fishes found in the MBNMS and also some of the most interesting. California Sheephead: Like most wrasse, sheephead have different color phases for the terminal and initial phases. The terminal phase are always male and are characterized by a white chin and black and orange body. They are a favorite food fish and have suffered a large decline from spearfishing. Blue Rockfish: Similar to grouper, rockfish are long lived (some have been found to live 80 years). Vulnerable to fishing pressure, rockfish species have seriously declined in numbers. Blue rockfish are distinguished from others by their slate blue color and lines from their eyes. Pile Perch: Perch are a common sight along the US west coast. The pile perch is typically found around piers and docks (getting their name from hanging out around pilings), but they can also be found among kelp.
Blacksmith: These planktivorous damselfish form large schools up in the water column. They have a blue body that is covered in small black speckles, so they blend in with the blue ocean background. Giant Kelpfish: Shaped like a kelp frond, the giant kelpfish is adapted for hanging out in the kelp forest canopy. Like all kelpfish, they are masters of camouflage and their colors vary from yellow to brown with dark blotches. Bluebanded Goby: This fish is proof that tropical fish are not the only ones that are colorful. This little fish is quite common in the southern islands of the Channel Islands and is bright orange with blue stripes.
Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub