Hundreds of critically endangered giant sea bass, a species native to Southern California, are being released into the ocean off the South Bay after being hatched and raised in captivity by the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Aquarium of the Pacific, the aquariums announced Saturday.
In 2016, the Aquarium of the Pacific became the first public aquarium to successfully hatch and raise a giant sea bass, which is “notoriously difficult to breed in an aquarium setting,” according to the Aquarium of the Pacific.
After this first success, the Long Beach aquarium built partnerships with other aquariums, universities and government agencies that had been working with giant sea bass.
In summer 2019, Cal State Northridge shared giant sea bass eggs with the Aquarium of the Pacific and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and they were able to successfully rear giant sea bass from the eggs, the aquariums reported.
Half of the fish have been released into the ocean off the South Bay, and the second half will be released later. In total, several hundred fish will be released by divers from both aquariums, according to the Aquarium of the Pacific. The location of the release is confidential.
“The Aquarium of the Pacific is proud to directly contribute to enhancing wild populations of giant sea bass by investing in this critically endangered species’ culture and care,” said Aquarium of the Pacific Vice President of Animal Husbandry Sandy Trautwein.
“This iconic Southern California species is key to healthy kelp forest ecosystems and is a wonder to behold.”
The Aquarium of the Pacific encouraged anyone who sees a giant sea bass in the ocean to share a photo on bassspottinggiantseabass.msi.ucsb.edu to help scientists track individual sea bass.