White Seabass Essential Fishery Information

White seabass, the largest member of the croaker family, are distributed along the Pacific Coast of North America, from northern California to southern Baja California, Mexico and are targeted by recreational and commercial fishermen. Extremely low catch levels experienced during the mid to late 1900’s resulted in the development of a white seabass Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The FMP was developed in 1995 and fully implemented in 2002. The framework plan approach to management of this fishery allows regulation adjustments to be implemented quickly, facilitating adaptive management. A goal of the FMP is to develop more sophisticated stock assessments by gathering essential fishery information (EFI) on white seabass. A clear knowledge gap exists for EFI on the maturity of this species. The only study on this topic was published many years ago by Clark (1930) and was based on macroscopic assessment of a small number of gonads.

SCFRMP staff is collecting white seabass from areas within the Southern California Bight during spawning season (March - September) from 2016 onward. A range of lengths will be targeted to obtain juvenile through adult size classes. Staff will calculate the following reproductive parameters for white seabass: gonadal somatic indices (GSI), length and age at which 100% of fish have reached maturity, fecundity and the reproductive potential of adults.

An improved dataset for white seabass EFI (reproductive parameters) will allow CDFW to evaluate the effectiveness of current size limits. The collection of this EFI will contribute to stock assessments and FMPs and generate reliable spawning biomass estimates.