Friday, 18 July 2014

Giant sea bass census

17th July 2014

50 minutes ago by Julie Cohen

Fished nearly to extinction in the recent past, giant sea bass (Stereolepis gigas) are starting to make a comeback. But no one really knows the size of the population. So UC Santa Barbara researchers are asking recreational divers to report sightings of giant sea bass up and down the California coast during a week when the fish are likely to be in shallow water. The Great Giant Sea Bass Count will take place Aug. 1-7.

"What's nice about this is that people can dive or snorkel anywhere—reefs, wrecks, shallow water, harbors—and for any duration, five minutes or an hour," said Milton Love, an associate research biologist with UCSB's Marine Science Institute and author of "Certainly More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast." He is organizing the sea bass count with Douglas McCauley, an assistant professor in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology.

"We want to know how many giant sea bass each diver sees, even if that number is zero; everything else is just gravy," Love added. "If they report the depth, the habitat or how big the fish were, that's great. The only real caveat is: Try not to count the same fish twice. So that makes it relatively easy for anybody to do it."



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