Kelp Bass

Scientific Name: Paralabrax clathratus

Distribution: Oregon to southern Baja California.

Habitat: Found in the surface and surf zone to 200 ft (61 m). Kelp bass prefer rock boulder, rock rubble, and kelp habitat.

Behavior: Kelp bass can change their colors and patterns quickly. They have a home range of 33-11,224 m2 averaging 3,349 m2 (about 1 acre) and show high site fidelity. Kelp bass have been observed to making migrations to spawning aggregations which can consist of anywhere from 3 to 200 individuals. Juvenile kelp bass feed on benthic invertebrates whereas the adults feed on fish and cephalopods.

Why it is important: Kelp bass are one of the most important recreational fisheries in southern California and are one of the favorite catches among anglers as they have consistently ranked in the top three species landed in the commercial passenger fishing vessels over the last 20 years. Kelp bass movement and distribution are important to study to determine if Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an effective management strategy for this species and effectively encompass kelp bass area use. Kelp bass are also a species listed under California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) consumption guidelines for Southern California due to contamination. In addition to their recreational importance, kelp bass are a generalist predator and are an important regulator of fish recruits.

Sources: FishBase, Love 2006, Love 2011

Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Paralabrax clathratus

Conservation Status (IUCN): Least Concern

Lifespan: 33 years

Age at Maturity: Females 5 years; Males 4 years

Maximum Weight: 14.6 lbs (6.6 kg)

Speed: Unknown

Maximum Length: 2.3 ft (72.1 cm)

Habitat: Temperate & subtropical near structure

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