REEF Stats

Top 10 Most Frequently Sighted Fish
  1. Kelp Greenling
  2. Black Rockfish
  3. Lingcod
  4. Striped Seaperch
  5. Longfin Sculpin
  6. China Rockfish
  7. Red Irish Lord
  8. Quillback Rockfish
  9. Scalyhead Sculpin
  10. Cabezon

Educational Resources

OCNMS Educational Website

About the Sanctuary

The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary covers over 3300 square miles of ocean waters off Washington State's rugged and rocky Olympic Peninsula coastline. Sanctuary waters host abundant marine life, and are known for rough seas, large waves, and cold temperatures. There are over 600 islands in the Sanctuary and these are important habitat for many species of seabirds, which can number over 1 million during the annual migration. Many species of commercial fishes are found here and the area supports a large commercial fishing fleet. There are five Native American Reservations along the coastline of the Sanctuary. OCNMS Website

Current REEF Projects

Annual Nearshore Fish and Invertebrate Monitoring - Beginning in 2002, a team of REEF Advanced Assessment Team surveyors conducts annual REEF surveys at 10 sites within the OCNMS each summer. Click here to read more about the 2006 project.

Fish Features

The six species featured below represent some of the most common fishes found in the OCNMS and also some of the most unique.
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. Black rockfish are distinguished from others by their slate blue color and no lines r
Perch are a common sight along the US west coast.  The striped perch is one of the larger perch in the Northwest, and is distinguished by the bluish thin lines that run along the sides.
This large fish is not actually an eel but resembles one as it swims.  The large bulbous head and black spots characterize this hard to mistake fish.  Pairs of wolf eel  inhabit dens in crevices and apparently form pair bonds.

The greenling family is only represented on the west coast of the US and Canada.  The kelp greenling is a common sight for divers in the Pacific Northwest, especially the females (pictured above).
The lingcod is also a member of the greenling family.  During winter months, females lay large white egg masses that males then guard.  Many REEF volunteers monitor lingcod nests.  Sought after as a food fish, this ground fish has suffered serious decline
Gunnels are elongated, eel like fishes that are often found mixing in with the bottom debris and marine plants.  The penpoint gunnel blends in well with its green body.  The thin black bar through the eye and small spots along the midbody are good visual