California White Seabass is Back
Summer Brings California 2011 White Seabass season,
which just opened last week. Less than half of the
catch is being landed, and the size of the fish caught is impressive and heartening, indicating that nearly
thirty years of effort are yielding very positive results.
White seabass is meaty, juicy, and succulent with a rich, sweet flavor, and that its populations have recovered, and are being well-managed, is to be lauded and celebrated.
In the early eighties, after many years of poor management and over-fishing in the inshore areas that are the nurseries of white seabass, the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program, (OREHP) was begun, and then extended, by California Assembly members Larry Stirling and Dede Alpert.
With funds made available as environmental mitigation by the owners of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, The Leon Hubbard Hatchery was opened, and is now capable of producing 350,000 juvenile white seabass each year.
The hatchery offspring, in combination with the growing numbers of wild offspring, are now reaching larger sizes in protected inshore areas. Volunteer sports fishermen and anglers have been instrumental in the success of what was at first an experiment, by providing brood fish and building protective structures for the growing hatchery fish, giving them better odds of surviving. Specific areas of capture and a season are further regulations that have enabled this fishery to rebound, and now to thrive.
Monterey Bay Aquarium has labeled this a "Best Choice" fish.
California White Seabass are caught in offshore waters, primarily with small drift gillnets that the fishermen work often, not allowing the nets to "soak " for more than a few hours. These fish are not fast to bite, yet some are caught commercially with jigs.
Fisheries can, and do, recover.
Wondering what drift gillnets and jigging are?
Visit our new website at
We've launched a new informational site that we hope you'll visit when you're interested in fishing methods, or are concerned about mercury in seafood,
or are curious to know what the difference between a black seabass and a white seabass is,
or what that number for the store is....
Grilled Seabass with Tapenade
For the Tapenade:
- 1 cup Nicoise Olives
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs capers
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of chili flakes
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp orange zest
Mash the garlic with the salt so it's nearly a paste. Mince all of the other solid ingredients, then combine all ingredients together.
Seabass grills beautifully. Brush the seabass with a bit of olive oil and place it on a clean, oiled grill. Once the fish becomes opaque most of the way through, give a quick flip, being careful not to overcook the fish.