Researchers Studying Population Size, Economic Value Of Mysterious Giant Sea Bass Off Coast

Apr 10, 2019

This is one whopper of a fish tale.

You’re diving off of one of the Channel Islands, and you come face to face with a giant fish. The Giant Sea Bass can live as long as many humans, to around 70 years old.

Some South Coast researchers are conducting a pair of studies to help us learn more about the mysterious fish.

Francis Joyce is a researcher at UCSB Benioff Ocean Initiative at UCSB. He and researcher Ana Guerra are doing a pair of Giant Sea Bass studies trying to get a handle on the size of the population, as well as the economic value of the massive fish.

The population study uses computer imaging technology similar to what’s used to chart stars. Joyce says they are pairing the technology with photos taken by recreational divers. The researcher says the hope is they may solve some of the mysteries surrounding the giant sea bass, like their migration paths.

Joyce says we still don’t have a good handle on the size of the population.

Meanwhile, researcher Ana Guerra has been looking at the economic value of the fish. Guerra says there is a moratorium on fishing for giant sea bass, although there’s a few spots where commercial fisherman can keep them if they accidentally catch one. She says they are much more valuable as tourist attractions.