Giant Sea Bass Facts
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The giant sea bass, Stereolepis gigas, belongs to the family Polyprionidea, and has been known by the common names, giant sea bass, and black sea bass. Truly giants, the longest recorded fish was 7.45 feet, and the heaviest fish wich was caught off of Anacapa Island in the 60's wieghed 563 pounds.
The gaint sea bass has a limted range and is known from Huboldt Bay in Northern California down to the Gulf of California.
The species has been observed over many varied habitats, including rocky reefs, kelp forests, sand/mudflats, and occasionally open ocean.
The giant sea bas feeds on a a variety of fish and invertebrates such as small rays & sharks, turbot, squid, lobster, mantis shrimp, and more.
|Giant Sea Bass History
With conspicuous size and a curious nature, it is hard to imagine that relatively little is known about the behavior and biology of the giant sea bass, Stereolepis gigas. However, just two decades ago the giant sea bass was facing the threat of local extinction off the California coast. The giant sea bass, also known as the black sea bass, ranges from Humboldt Bay California, to the Gulf of California, most commonly from Point Conception southward. Truly giants, the largest of these fish caught in California Waters weighed 563.5 pounds, and the species has been recorded to reach lengths up to 7.45 feet. In Charles F. Holder's book, "The Channels Islands" published in 1910, the author claims specimens taken from the Gulf of California attained 800 pounds!
Giant sea bass were once a relatively common inhabitant of Southern California waters. Beginning in the late 1800's, the species supported both a commercial fishery taking hundreds of thousands of pounds annually, and a sport fishery that also landed hundreds of fish each year. Spear fishermen also exploited the giant sea bass, first as free divers, and then after the mid 1950's using scuba gear. Often the divers would target the species when they moved into shallow water during the summer months to spawn. By the late 70's, biologists with the California State Department of Fish and Game recognized that the local population of giant sea bass was in serious trouble. Actions were taken, resulting in protection from commercial and sport fishing that went into effect in 1982. Yet for almost two decades encounters with giant sea bass were scarce.
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