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UCSB researchers are asking recreational divers and snorklers in southern California to count giant sea bass (pictured) during the first seven days of August.

Linda Blanchard

UCSB researchers are asking recreational divers and snorklers in southern California to count giant sea bass (pictured) during the first seven days of August.


UCSB Researchers Organize Giant Sea Bass Count


Friday, July 18, 2014
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Perhaps you’re one of those people who is shocked when you see a picture of a fisherman holding a dead giant sea bass because you didn’t anticipate that the delicate, flaky white fish you’ve enjoyed grilled was so massive when alive. Surprised or not, whoever you are — fish-eater or diver or snorkeler — UCSB researchers are asking you to get into the ocean and count giant sea bass during the first week in August.

The fish — which weigh at least 600 pounds when fully grown and are just smaller than swordfish — were over-fished in the 1960s. In the 80s, a statewide ban prohibited their catch, and populations are now coming back, said UCSB researcher Dr. Milton Love. Throughout his extensive work in the marine world, Love realized no one has actually attempted to count how many giant sea bass — also called black sea bass — exist off the coast of Southern California.

Juvenile giant sea bass look much different than their adult counterparts.
Click to enlarge photo

Tracy Clark

Juvenile giant sea bass look much different than their adult counterparts.

So Love decided to organize a count. Divers are asked to record their date and start time, the exact longitude and latitude of their location, the surrounding habitat, bottom time, and the number of fish observed. The team will collect divers’ reports and synthesize them to complete their work.

“We’re trying to ask the question, ‘What is the minimum number?’ We don’t know the maximum, but we want to know the minimum,” explained Love, who penned Certainly More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast.

California State University Northridge researchers will also work on the project. More information is available on a Facebook page, the Giant Sea Bass Collective.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Darned tasty fish my friends.
Last one we caught was 30+ pounds and it was very good.

sslocal (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2014 at 1:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"UCSB RESEARCHERS ORGANIZE GIANT HUNT FOR COMMON SENSE"

In a surprising turn of events, overpaid lib-dem researchers at UCSB decide to get real jobs. Said one Reaearcher, "I had no idea how much time and public taxpayer money I was wasting until I didn't get tenure and realized I was a giant drag on society and one of the chief causes of student tuitions going higher. All my hunting for seabass and other fish was draining away money better spent elsewhere."

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2014 at 7:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sea bass are very tasty ones.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2014 at 12:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

What's your point realitycheck? The divers they use are mostly unpaid interns, marine biologist generate money for the university (which takes a huge cut of every grant they obtain), and last time I checked, Dr. Love's research was paid for with money from oil extraction revenues. I value the understanding of fish populations, as I'm sure a lot of other fisherman do. Before it was 'common' sense, it was probably discovered by a scientist. Feel free to add to the conversation, otherwise you're just a troll.

bmac (anonymous profile)
July 21, 2014 at 10:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Seeing a 600 lb Black Sea Bass in its native environment is an E-Ticket especially when their natural curiosity brings them so close that you can count their scales, one of the reasons they were so easy to spear in the 60's.

One of my favorite subjects to film.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
August 6, 2014 at 9:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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