Giant sea bass is considered to belong in the critically endangered list of species. You might take a swim in the deep waters and can encounter a large fish that can be 6 feet long.
Giant sea bass usually lives near the western coasts of North America and can be found in the Mexican as well as the American waters. You will not find a wall or a fence in the water, but it still acts as a barrier for the fish. There was a huge misunderstanding about the population of giant sea bass due to differences in the research and regulations of the 2 countries.
You can take a look at this map that shows the density of giant sea bass along the western coast of America and along both sides of the Baja Peninsula.
The Giant Sea Bass: Understanding The Population Size
The Giant sea bass is one of the largest bony fish in the Northeastern Pacific and can grow up to 9 feet long. The fish can weigh approximately 700 pounds and is mostly found in North California till the tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. The region includes the entire Gulf of California.
Commercial fishing began in California in the 1880s where this large fish was found in abundance. The fish industry collapsed later in the 1970s. 1981 saw the US ban both recreational and commercial fishing for giant sea bass and opted for proper research and recovery of the fish population.
The protection provided by the US was largely different from the one offered by Mexico. Mexico lacks proper data on large fish and has minimal regulations on fishing. 3 studies were conducted on the sea bass with minimum data from Mexico.
The IUCN states the Giant sea bass to be critically endangered as its population is fragmented. This decision was made on data, that was not provided from Mexico. 78% of the giant sea bass lives in Mexican waters but there is still a lack of data from the country.
There was a huge knowledge gap and the ecologists had the wrong idea about the population size of these large fishes.
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You can find Giant sea bass everywhere in Mexico, from the fish markets up to the fishing grounds. The sellers were never out of stock and it was clear that the giant sea bass was abundant in the waters.
The largest catch annually in Mexico was 386 tons. It was in the year 1933. Biologists calculate the collapse of fisheries when the total catch is less than ten percent of the record largest catch. Mexico has shown no signs of collapse as they catch 55 tons every year.
In the early 2000s, the US fleets overfished in their own water and even went on the Mexican side. They kept counting all the catches from the US only. The Mexico-US Fisheries Agreement was signed in 1968 where a limit was set for a country to fish from the other side. The collapse of fisheries in the US was due to a change in the fishing regulations and the Californian fish populations were depressed for decades.
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It is expected that lawmakers in the US and Baja can start something to manage the giant sea bass populations. The research between the 2 countries is asymmetrical and the difference in data creates barriers that do not allow us to understand the timelines of this large species of fish. It is expected that the governments will come together and implement practices that will be sustainable.