Giant Sea Bass 7673825822 O
18Identifcation number on The Map®

Giant Sea Bass

Stereolepis gigas

Giant Sea BassTracy Clark


  • Large mouth and bulky body. Sizable black spots dark brown to gray


  • Uncommon but becoming occasional southern California; uncommon central California; rare north to northern California.


  • Inhabit rocky bottoms, in vicinity of outcroppings and in kelp forests
  • Drift in shade blending with surroundings
  • Larger individuals tend to be in deeper water


  • Juveniles feed on anchovies and white croakers while adults will feed on mackerel, sheepshead, ocean whitefish, sand bass, crabs

Interesting Facts


  • Giant sea bass were once a relatively common inhabitant of Southern California waters, yet in the 1980s it was facing the threat of local extinction off the California coast
  • Beginning in the late 1800s, the species supported both a commercial fishery taking hundreds of thousands of lbs annually, and a sport fishery that also landed hundreds of fish each year
  • Spear fishermen also exploited the giant sea bass, first as free divers, and then after the mid 1950s using scuba gear
  • Often the divers would target the species when they moved into shallow water during the summer months to spawn
  • By the late 1970s, biologists with the California State Department of Fish and Game, recognized that the local population of giant sea bass was in serious trouble
  • Actions were taken, resulting in protection from commercial and sport fishing that went into effect in 1982
  • Yet for almost two decades encounters with giant sea bass were scarce
  • The giant sea bass reproduces slowly with a population doubling time of more than 14 years and is still listed as critically endangered