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Giant Sea Bass - Stereolepis gigas
Photo by Ralph A. Clevenger

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.

Giant Sea Bass
(Stereolepis gigas)

Distribution
Humboldt Bay to Gulf of California, mostly south of Point Conception

Habitat
Near shore, over rocky and sandy bottoms, near kelp beds and seafloor drops, found between 5.5- 46m (18-150ft.), larger fish are found deeper than smaller and over rougher ground.

Diet
Many types of fishes, spiny lobsters, rock crabs and squid

Status

The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

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.

Learn More
- Marine Scientist, Kathy deWet-Oleson