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Stereolepis gigas - Giant Sea Bass

Stereolepis gigas - Giant Sea Bass

Giant sea bass can be up to 2.1m (7ft) and weigh over 550 pounds. Like the name implies, this is the largest bony fish species off the California coast. These fish are long lived, grow slowly, and they were once abundant. However, by the 70's the population was crashing. In 1982 they gained protected status from fishing. The giant sea bass is curious by nature, and will often closely approach divers. Over the past decade this species has been making a modest comeback.

Distribution, Stock Structure and Migration
Eastern Pacific: Humboldt Bay in California, USA to Mexico. Northwest Pacific: Japan

Demersal; marine; depth range 5 - 46 m. Occur on rock bottoms; near shore, outside kelp beds and along drop-offs. Large specimens usually found deeper than 30 m, small ones over sand and in kelp beds mostly from 12-21 m. Aggregate for spawning in summer

Giant Sea Bass prey on sting rays, skates, lobster, crabs, various flatfish, small sharks, mantis shrimp, kelp bass or barred sand bass, blacksmith, ocean whitefish, red crab, sargo, sheephead, octopus and squid. Giant sea bass are not built for sustained speed, and the vast majority of their prey are organisms that live on the bottom. These organisms, located crawling across the substrate or buried just below the surface, are drawn into the mouth of a giant sea bass by the vacuum produced when the huge mouth is rapidly opened. Some midwater fish are ambushed and sucked in by giant sea bass lurking in the shadows of the kelp.

Quick Fact
Also known by the common name "black sea bass", adult and sub-adult fish can change their color patterns from black to spotted, or even a silvery bronze. Live to at least age 100 years.

Learn More
- Kathy deWet-Oleson's Giant Sea Bass Home Page

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