494

Giant Sea Bass

North America

494

Stereolepis gigas

Endangered

  • Commercial and recreational fishing

Considered as California’s largest nearshore bony fish, the Giant Sea Bass grows up to 8 feet in length, weighs almost 600 pounds, and lives for more than 70 years. Despite its name, it actually belongs to the wreckfish family which consists of deep water, cave dwelling fish species.

This North Pacific Ocean endemic fish species is also known to be ‘king of the kelp forests’ due to its preference to stay in shallow water areas and mudflats with an abundance of kelp around it. Its main diet consists of a wide variety of fish as well as crustaceans. Though it has a bulky appearance, it has a surprising agile and quick movement that rivals Bonitos.

Dramatic decline in Giant Sea Bass population is greatly attributed to commercial and recreational fishing in the early part of the 21st century. By the time conservation laws were in place, almost 95% of the fish species has already been lost.