Disclaimer: This is an interactive, draft mock-up that was created to inform the development of the California Fisheries Portal. This is not an active website and does not represent the final draft of the California Fisheries Portal. This mock-up was developed based on the first stakeholder focus group (2018) and serves as an interactive discussion draft for the stakeholder webinar on March 22, 2019.

Barred Sand Bass Enhanced Status Report

Table of Contents

2. The Fishery

2.1 Location of the Fishery

Barred Sand Bass are found from Santa Cruz, California south to Bahia Magdalena, Baja California, Mexico, but are rarely spotted north of Point Conception. They are fished on coastal reefs year-round, but most commonly targeted when they form large annual spawning aggregations over sand flats at depths of 10.0 to 30.0 m (32.8 to 98.4 ft) (Love et al. 1996a) (Figure 2-1). Popular fishing grounds for Barred Sand Bass have historically included spawning aggregation sites such as Silver Strand, Del Mar and San Onofre in San Diego County, Huntington Flats in Orange County, Santa Monica in Los Angeles County and Ventura Flats in northern Ventura County (Jarvis et al.2010). They are not commonly caught at the offshore islands.

 

Figure 2-1. Percent change in CPUE by fishing block during peak spawning season (June to August) for Barred Sand Bass between 2000 to 2004 and late 2005 to 2012 (Reproduced from Jarvis et al. 2014a) (CPFV logbooks).

2.2 Fishing Effort

2.2.1 Number of Vessels and Participants Over Time

Saltwater anglers fish for Barred Sand Bass from party boats, private vessels, shore, piers, and jetties. Some small recreational charter boat trips began targeting Barred Sand Bass in the early 20th century but the CPFV fleet did not fully develop until after 1929 (Young 1969). Although Kelp Bass were the focus of the CPFV fishery in the 1950s and 1960s, Barred Sand Bass became a primary component of the CPFV catch in the 1980s (Jarvis et al.2014a) with more than 11 million fish landed between 1980 and 2017 (Marine Log System (MLS) database). In the late 1970s Barred Sand Bass began being targeted due to increased abundance from strong recruitment during a warm regime (Love et al. 1996a) and the ease of catching legal adults (Ally et al. 1991). Today California’s recreational fishery targets Barred Sand Bass by several fishing modes, including private/rental boats, CPFVs, man-made platforms and beach/bank fishing. However, more than 70% of the catch is comprised of fish caught on CPFVs (Table 2-1).

The annual number of CPFV trips targeting Barred Sand Bass (at least one caught per trip) remained relatively stable at approximately 6,000 to 8,000 trips per year from 1980 to 1995, peaked in 1998 at approximately 12,000 trips, and declined dramatically after 2001 to approximately 3,000 trips in 2017 (Figure 2-2).

Table 2-1. Percent of Barred Sand Bass catch (retained fish) in the recreational fishery by mode from 2004 to 2017. (RecFIN 2017).
Figure 2-2. Number of CPFV trips in southern California targeting Barred Sand Bass (at least one caught) each year from 1980 to 2017 (MLS database).
2.2.2 Type, Amount, and Selectivity of Gear

Barred Sand Bass are caught primarily by hook and line, with a minor component taken by spear. Recreational anglers fishing from boat or shore may use any number of hooks and lines. On public piers, no person shall use more than two rods and lines. Hook and line anglers typically use soft plastics, dead or live bait. Typical baits include squid, sardines, and anchovies.

The most common size of Barred Sand Bass caught by hook and line from 2013 to 2017 was 14.5 in (36.8 cm) and the average size was 15.6 in (39.6cm) (Recreational Fisheries Information Network (RecFIN) 2017). However, these sizes may be slightly inflated since fewer discarded fish were measured relative to those that were legal size and kept.

Depending on the type of hooks and baits used, Barred Sand Bass much smaller than the legal size limit can be caught (and then must be released). An ongoing Department study monitoring bass discard rates aboard CPFVs has recorded Barred Sand Bass as small as 5.0 in (12.7cm) being caught and released. However, catching Barred Sand Bass that small is not common as the average size of Barred Sand Bass discarded is 12.0 in (30.5cm) and the most frequently occurring size discarded is 12.6 in (32.0cm).

2.3 Landings in the Recreational and Commercial Sectors

2.3.1 Recreational

Catch data for the recreational fishery are provided by two sources: (1) CPFV logbooks within the Department’s MLS database and (2) CRFS estimates on all fishing modes available from the RecFIN website.

 Current CPFV logs (1980 to present) provide self-reported data on catch and effort from CPFV captains per vessel trip. These data include the trip date, fishing location (Department fishing block), port code, number of anglers, number of fish kept by species, number of fish discarded (since 1995), time fished, and other relevant information. Additionally, some data are available for recreational catch from CPFVs for the years prior to 1980 from historical logbook data (Hill and Schneider 1999). Landings in the historical data prior to 1975 were recorded in a general “rock bass” category that included Barred Sand Bass, Kelp Bass, and Spotted Sand Bass. These data are summarized by month and fishing block so effort estimates by trip and specific species cannot be made.  

CRFS estimates from 2004 to2018use catch and effort data collected by samplers from all fishing modes (beach/bank, man-made structures, private/rental boats, and CPFVs). In addition to the data listed above, CRFS collect size (length and weight) information on kept fish. Numbers of discards are also recorded for all modes and discard lengths are obtained opportunistically on CPFVs. From 1980 to 2003, catch and effort data on all fishing modes were collected by the federal Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistical Survey (MRFSS) conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Estimates from CRFS and MRFSS are not directly comparable due to differences in methodology, thus only CRFS data are presented in this ESR (See Chapter 4 for more details on these datasets).

In this ESR, historical logbook data are used to report trends in the “rock bass” category on CPFVs from 1947 to 1980, CRFS data are used to summarize trends in the private/rental boat mode from 2004 to 2017, and MLS logbook data are used to summarize trends in CPFV catch from 1980 to 2017.

In southern California, Barred Sand Bass are caught year-round, but are most commonly fished during their annual spawning migrations in the summer months of June, July and August (Erisman et al. 2011) (Figure 2-3).

From the 1970s onward, Barred Sand Bass consistently ranked in the top ten species in the CPFV catch and they remained one of the most important species to the recreational fishery in southern California for more than three decades (Jarvis et al. 2014a). This pattern was persistent until the early 21stcentury, even following a major decline in landings beginning in 2005. Between 2011 and 2016, however, the ranking of Barred Sand Bass in the retained catch for all fishing modes dropped rapidly from 4thto 36thplace. In 2017, the ranking remained at 19thplace (Figure 2-4).

Because historical logbook data are summarized, the Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) for this dataset was calculated as the total number of “rock bass” caught in all blocks divided by the total number of anglers. CPUE from current CPFV logs was determined by dividing the total number of Barred Sand Bass caught each year by the total number of anglers aboard trips where at least one Barred Sand Bass was caught.

CPUE for the “rock bass” complex reached a record peak in the early 1960s, followed by a dip in the 1970s and a small rebound into the 1980s (Figure 2-5 A). Recent CPUE data for CPFVs show a slow but steady increase from 1980 to the mid-2000s followed by a sharp decline up to the present day (Figure 2-5 B). At its peak, CPUE of Barred Sand Bass on CPFV trips (about two fish/angler) was high relative to other species of saltwater bass (e.g. Kelp Bass: about 0.7-1.5 fish/angler), because they were easily targeted in spawning aggregations (Love et al. 1996a). The CPUE of Barred Sand Bass dropped from a high of 2.4 fish per angler in 2000 to a record low of 0.2 in 2016 (Figure 2-5 B). A decline in CPUE of 50% or more was observed for CPFVs throughout most areas in the Southern California Bight between 2000 and 2012 (Figure 2-1). Private and rental boat data mirrored the decline in CPUE observed for CPFVs (Figure 2-5 C).

Temporal trends in landings for Barred Sand Bass followed the same pattern seen in CPUE. Landings from CPFVs and private/rental boats showed a steady increase through the mid 2000s followed by a sharp decline leading to 2017 (Figure 2-5 B and C). A record low of 11,033Barred Sand Bass were landed by CPFVs in 2016. This was a 97% decrease since 2000 when CPFVs landed 703,262 fish. During the July spawning season in the early 2000s up to 16,800 Barred Sand Bass were retained by CPFVs in a single day, while in 2017 the peak daily landings on CPFVs only reached 43 fish. The substantial drop in landings does not appear to result solely from reduced fishing effort for this species since a comparable trend occurred in the CPUE data (Figure 2-5 B and C). The swift drop in both CPUE and landings is attributed to prolonged overfishing of Barred Sand Bass spawning aggregations paired with poor recruitment during the cool water regime in the early 2000s (Erisman et al. 2011).

Figure 2-3. Proportion of the yearly landings of Barred Sand Bass by month in southern California (CPFV logbook data 2013 to 2016).
Figure 2-4. Ranking of Barred Sand Bass in the landings in southern California from 2004 to 2017. Results are based on the estimated retained catch for all fishing modes.
Figure 2-5. CPUE (black line) and landings (harvested catch) (grey bars) for (A) Rock Bass (Barred Sand Bass, Kelp Bass and Spotted Sand Bass) retained on CPFV trips from 1947 to 1980 (historical logbook database), and for Barred Sand Bass retained by (B) CPFVs (MLS database 1980 to 2017), and (C) private/rental boats (RecFIN database 2004 to 2017).
2.3.2 Commercial

In the 1930s Barred Sand Bass were only caught incidentally for commercial purposes using primarily hand and set lines. This fishery was mainly based out of Los Angeles Harbor in San Pedro (Clark 1933). The small commercial fishery that existed for all three “rock bass” species (Barred Sand Bass, Kelp Bass, and Spotted Sand Bass,) had high landings during World War I, followed by another peak in the second half of the 1920s and then a general decline thereafter (Figure 2-6). The decline was associated with an increase in fishing pressure by recent veterans of the wartime industry. The commercial take of sea basses was prohibited in 1953 due to concerns about sustainability of the fishery (Young 1963).

Figure 2-6. Annual commercial landings (lb) of sea basses (combined landings of Kelp Bass, Barred Sand Bass, and Spotted Sand Bass) from 1916 to 1953 (Reproduced from the Commission Catch Bulletins 2004 Annual Status of the Fisheries Report).

2.4 Social and Economic Factors Related to the Fishery

Barred Sand Bass play a focal role in the recreational fishing industry in southern California. Historically, they have supported the most reliable short-range inshore trips for the 260 vessels that make up southern California’s charter boat business (Bellquist and Semmens 2016), as well as target species for private boaters. Together these angling groups make up a large portion of California’s $3 billion dollar annual recreational fishing industry (Lovell et al. 2013). Recent declines in the catch of Barred Sand Bass and the essential disappearance of local spawning aggregations since the 2013 season have resulted in substantially fewer angler trips. This could critically narrow fishing opportunities for the recreational sector during years when warm water migratory species (e.g. tuna (Thunnus spp.) and yellowtail (Seriola lalandi)) are scarce.

In the 1930s and 1940s Barred Sand Bass were not a popular sport fish, but as more anglers entered the fishery they grew in popularity. Though they are less popular than Kelp Bass for consumption and sport, Barred Sand Bass are easy for novice anglers to target with hook and line during spawning aggregations. Hence, they have been a reliable species for CPFVs hoping to give less experienced anglers a chance to catch a fish (Love et al. 1996a; Erisman et al. 2011). A 2017 study showed that CPFV captains in southern California think Barred Sand Bass are a very important component to the recreational fishing industry, but acknowledge that the population is less healthy than Kelp Bass. This view was mainly attributed to captains that had been in the fishing industry for more than 10 yr,as captains with less experience thought the fishery was healthy (Bellquist et al. 2017).

As a whole, the CPFV captains felt that the recreational fishery had a minimal impact on saltwater bass populations, and that fishery regulations were ineffective for management. This response reflects the importance of increasing public awareness of the available data and differences in life history strategies between Kelp Bass and Barred Sand Bass to improve stewardship of the fishery and to develop support for effective management decisions at the species level.

Version: The Barred Sand Bass Enhanced Status Report was updated in print and online in 2019.

Download: Barred Sand Bass Status Report (2019) (pdf)

Contact Us: To contact CDFW regarding Barred Sand Bass, please email fish@wildlife.ca.gov or call (831) 649-2870.

Citation: California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2019. Barred Sand Bass, Paralabrax nebulifer, Enhanced Status Report.

Contributor(s): Jean Davis and Miranda Haggerty (2019)

Barred Sand Bass Enhanced Status Report (2019)

Table of Contents
  1. The Species
    1. Natural History
      1. Species Description
      2. Range, Distribution, and Movement
      3. Reproduction, Fecundity, and Spawning Season
      4. Natural Mortality
      5. Individual Growth
      6. Size and Age at Maturity
    2. Population Status and Dynamics
      1. Abundance Estimates
      2. Age Structure of the Population
    3. Habitat
    4. Ecosystem Role
      1. Associated Species
      2. Predator-prey Interactions
    5. Effects of Changing Oceanic Conditions
  2. The Fishery
    1. Location of the Fishery
    2. Fishing Effort
      1. Number of Vessels and Participants Over Time
      2. Type, Amount, and Selectivity of Gear
    3. Landings in the Recreational and Commercial Sectors
      1. Recreational
      2. Commercial
    4. Social and Economic Factors Related to the Fishery
  3. Management
    1. Past and Current Management
      1. Overview and Rationale for the Current Management Framework
        1. Criteria to Identify When Fisheries Are Overfished or Subject to Overfishing, and Measures to Rebuild
        2. Past and Current Stakeholder Involvement
      2. Target Species
        1. Limitations on Fishing for Target Species
          1. Catch
          2. Effort
          3. Gear
          4. Time
          5. Sex
          6. Size
          7. Area
          8. Marine Protected Areas
        2. Description of and Rationale for Any Restricted Access Approach
      3. Bycatch
        1. Amount and Type of Bycatch (Including Discards)
        2. Assessment of Sustainability and Measures to Reduce Unacceptable Levels of Bycatch
      4. Habitat
        1. Description of Threats
        2. Measures to Minimize Any Adverse Effects on Habitat Caused by Fishing
    2. Requirements for Person or Vessel Permits and Reasonable Fees
  4. Monitoring and Essential Fishery Information
    1. Description of Relevant Essential Fishery Information
    2. Past and Ongoing Monitoring of the Fishery
      1. Fishery-dependent Data Collection
        Monitoring of Bycatch Rates
      2. Fishery-independent Data Collection
  5. Future Management Needs and Directions
    1. Identification of Information Gaps
    2. Research and Monitoring
      1. Potential Strategies to Fill Information Gaps
      2. Opportunities for Collaborative Fisheries Research
    3. Opportunities for Future
    4. Climate Readiness
List of Acronyms

CalCOFI: California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations
CCR: California Code of Regulations
CDFW: California Department of Fish and Wildlife
CPFV: Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel
CPUE: Catch Per Unit Effort
CRFS: California Recreational Fisheries Survey
DPUE: Discards Per Unit Effort
ENSO: El Niño Southern Oscillation
EFI: Essential Fishery Information
FGC: Fish and Game Code
FMP: Fishery Management Plan
IGFA: International Fish and Game Association
MLMA: Marine Life Management Act
MLS: Marine Logs System
MPA: Marine Protected Area
MRFSS: Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey
MSE: Management Strategy Evaluation
NGO: Non-Government Organization
NPGO: North Pacific Gyre Oscillation
PDO: Pacific Decadal Oscillation
RecFIN: Recreational Fisheries Information Network
SST: Sea Surface Temperature
TL: Total Length

List of Figures

Figure 1-1. Adult Barred Sand Bass in kelp forest habitat.

Figure 1-2. Range map for Barred Sand Bass.

Figure 1-3. Map of Barred Sand Bass tagging locations from historical studies by the Department (1960s and 1990s).  

Figure 1-4. Annual trends in juvenile (<25 cm TL prior to 1991 and <15 cm TL thereafter) and adult (>25 cm TL) Barred Sand Bass abundance at King Harbor, Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County from 1974 to 2016.

Figure 1-5. Age structure of harvested Barred Sand Bass from 1980 to 2017.

Figure 1-6. Annual variability in recruitment of “rock bass” (Barred Sand Bass, Kelp Bass and Spotted Sand Bass) based on quarterly plankton tows by California CalCOFI from 1951 to 2013.

Figure 2-1. Percent change in CPUE by fishing block during peak spawning season (June to August) for Barred Sand Bass between 2000 to 2004 and late 2005 to 2012.

Figure 2-2. Number of CPFV trips in southern California targeting Barred Sand Bass (at least one caught) each year from 1980 to 2017.

Figure 2-3. Proportion of the yearly landings of Barred Sand Bass by month in southern California.

Figure 2-4. Ranking of Barred Sand Bass at landings in southern California from 2004 to 2017.

Figure 2-5. CPUE (black line) and landings (harvested catch) (grey bars) for (A) rock bass (Barred Sand Bass, Kelp Bass and Spotted Sand Bass) retained on CPFV trips from 1947-1980, and (B) Barred Sand Bass retained by CPFVs from 1980 to 2017, and (C) private/rental boats from 2004 to 2017.

Figure 2-6. Annual commercial landings (lb) of sea basses (combined landings of Kelp Bass, Barred Sand Bass, and Spotted Sand Bass) from 1916 to 1953.

Figure 3-1. (A) Annual trends in the proportion of sublegal and legal Barred Sand Bass discarded from CPFVs and annual trends in bycatch of Barred Sand Bass presented as DPUE (black line) and the total number of discards (grey bars) for (B) CPFVs 1995 to 2017, and (C) private/rental boats 2004 to 2017.

List of Tables

Table 1-1. Barred Sand Bass associated and co-occurring species.

Table 2-1. Percent of Barred Sand Bass catch (retained fish) in the recreational fishery by fishing mode from 2004 to 2017.

Table 3-1. Historical record of southern California saltwater bass (Paralabraxspp.) minimum size and bag limit regulations.

Table 3-2. Number caught and percent of trips (frequency of occurrence) for the top ten incidental catch species on CPFV trips where at least one Barred Sand Bass was also caught in 2017.

Table 3-3. Number caught and percent of trips (frequency of occurrence) for species whose take is prohibited.

Table 5-1. Informational needs for Barred Sand Bass and their priority for management. 

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