Ocean perch (Sebastes norvegicus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Sebastes marinus is a large, robust member of the scorpionfish family that may reach up to 1 m in length although is usually about half that size. Like similar species it has relatively large and tall fins including an almost truncate tail fin, rounded anal, pectoral and pelvic fins, and a continuous dorsal fin. The dorsal fin is split into two parts, the first with 14-16 strong spines at the front and as many rays at the back. The anal fin has 3 spines and about 8 soft rays. It is bright red with a dusky area behind the opercle.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found off the coasts of Scotland and north-east England.

Global distribution



The ocean perch is a pelagic species usually found at depths over 100 m. Juveniles may be found in shallower, inshore waters.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Up to 1 m in length.
  • Dorsal fin with 14-16 strong spines at the front and as many soft rays at the back.
  • Anal fin with 3 spines and about 8 soft rays.
  • Bright red colouration with dusky area behind the opercle.
  • Lower preopercular spine is directed downward and slightly backward.
  • More than 55 oblique scale rows below the lateral line.

Additional information

The ocean perch, also known as the golden redfish, can be distinguished from the small redfish Sebastes viviparous by its larger size but also by not having several large dark lateral bands like those of Sebastes viviparous.

Listed by

- none -


  1. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2008-02-18

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


  1. Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, 2017. Fish: Records for Kent.. Occurrence dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/kd1utk accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  2. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  3. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-20


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Sebastes norvegicus Ocean perch. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 20-05-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/153

Last Updated: 02/06/2008