Kelp Bass are an important recreationally fished species that is closely associated with kelp habitat. They form small, broadly distributed spawning aggregations. Like Barred Sand Bass, Kelp Bass have ranked among the top ten sport fish caught by commercial passenger fishing vessels (CPFVs) in southern California. Both basses were managed under the same bag and size limits for over 50 years; however, fishery-dependent and fishery-independent data sources suggest significant population declines over the last decade and growing concerns regarding these fisheries led to implementation of new size and bag limits in 2013.
Essential Fishery Information (EFI) includes data on age, growth, reproduction, and other life history characteristics that are important for managing a sustainable fishery. Data on several reproductive, age, and growth parameters for Kelp Bass are outdated or lack adequate sample sizes, and no data exist on Kelp Bass spawning periodicity (fluctuations in reproductive hormone levels). These EFI are needed to evaluate the fishery's response to recent and future regulation changes, as well as oceanographic changes. In addition, these EFI will be critical components of future stock assessments and Fishery Management Plans (FMPs), further enhancing CDFW's ability to manage this species.
The Project is currently analyzing data on the following EFI for Kelp Bass: