Aquarium of the Pacific will release hundreds of endangered giant sea bass

Release program, conducted in partnership with Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and California State University, Northridge, raised juvenile giant sea bass to help bolster species’ population.

LONG BEACH—A partnership of three institutions/organizations announced they have successfully raised hundreds of juvenile giant sea bass for release into the ocean. The release was part of an effort to slowly increase the population of giant sea bass, a species that has been in decline and was listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

Researchers at California State University, Northridge shared giant sea bass eggs with Aquarium of the Pacific and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium last summer, as part of an attempt to produce offspring for the species.

Staff with Aquarium of the Pacific and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium reared the baby giant sea bass babies, setting the tone for eventual release.

“The young fish will all be released into the wild with approval from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife,” Aquarium of the Pacific staff said in a released statement. “Divers from both aquariums will release several hundred fish into the ocean at a time on two trips, the first of which has already been completed. The release location will be kept confidential among the project partners, allowing the young fish to acclimate to their new home.”

Aquarium of the Pacific staff added giant sea bass are “notoriously difficult to breed in an aquarium setting.”

“The Aquarium of the Pacific was the first public aquarium to successfully hatch and raise a baby giant sea bass in 2016. That fish, named Yutaka, is now on view in the Aquarium’s Amber Forest exhibit near its parents, which have lived in the Aquarium’s Honda Blue Cavern exhibit since its opening in 1998,” aquarium staff stated. “After this initial success, the Aquarium of the Pacific’s husbandry staff planned a regional meeting to gather aquarium professionals and local researchers who had been working with giant sea bass, and multiple partnerships were formed between universities, aquariums, and government agencies.”

Anyone spotting giant sea bass in the ocean is encouraged to take a photo and submit it to researchers at UC Santa Barbara. The university instituted a citizen science website – spottinggiantseabass.msi.ucsb.edu – as part of its work to track individual giant sea bass.

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