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Anglers Asked to Turn in White Seabass Heads for Data Collection Analysis

As seen as the Editorial on page 4 in the July 29 issue of Western Outdoor News.

In what was just reported earlier this year, after a recent study four years in the making, a team of marine fisheries experts and genetic scientists determined there were far more white seabass caught in Southern California waters reared at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute hatchery (HSWRI) than previously thought.

While a 2017 study indicated that less than one percent of California-caught white seabass originated from the Carlsbad facility based on coded wire tags that are routinely implanted in juvenile fish at the hatchery, this most recent study found 46.2 percent of seabass caught in Southern California waters originated from the hatchery through a comparative analysis of genetic markers.

And now, the Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA-CAL), HSWRI and the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP) are asking anglers to pitch in and contribute to the ongoing study by turning in any and all white seabass heads obtained over through Aug. 31 in order to conduct further research.

In what has been one of the best seabass years in recent memory, this can and should definitely be accomplished, as the program is hoping to collect a minimum of 1,000 seabass heads.

As an added incentive for turning in seabass heads, a $25 AFTCO gift code will be doled out to the first 1,000 private boaters who turn them in, while the sport boat that turns in the greatest number of heads for the month will receive $500 — same with the sport boat that turns in the greatest number of seabass heads with coded wire tags.

Proper protocol for the head collection must be followed and the heads must come from legal-sized fish (28 inches or larger) and be caught in U.S. waters, the heads must be bagged and labeled according to program requirements.

Information on each head’s label must include the vessel name, date, and location where each fish was caught.

There are convenient drop-off locations ranging from Santa Barbara to San Diego where seabass heads can be delivered. For more information on proper protocol, bagging and labeling requirements and specific drop-off locations throughout Southern California, visit the CCA-CAL website at

CCA-CAL, the HSWRI and the OCREH have gone above and beyond over the years since the program’s establishment nearly 40 years ago in 1983 to help sustain our unique and rich white seabass fishery that now appears to be thriving. Now is the perfect opportunity for anglers to give back and contribute to this vital program.

So, make the most of this summer and cash in on the great seabass fishing we’ve had so far this season. Hit your local kelp lines or head out to the islands and get a piece of the action and be sure to bag and tag the heads from your seabass success to keep this terrific fishery right in our backyard going strong.


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