A survey launched by the Southern California-based Sportfishing Conservancy seeks the views of local saltwater anglers on the subject of conservation when it comes to kelp (calico) bass, barred sand bass and spotted sand bass.
This survey on the group’s website comes in the wake of a recent statistical study published by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, which paints a dire picture of the barred sand bass and kelp bass populations off the Southern California coast, which I covered in my blog entitled Bass Debate.
The California Department of Fish and Game statistics back up the study, indicating that the annual barred sand bass catch has declined by 85 percent since 2001, and that kelp bass catches have declined by more than 70 percent since the 1980s.
“The DFG has indicated an interest in further restricting take of marine basses due to reductions in their populations,” according to the Sportfishing Conservancy website. The survey outlines three possible courses that he DFG is considering, including more restrictive bag and size limits, as well as seasonal closures, and asks for angler views on possible scenarios. The current minimum size limit for all three bass species is 12 inches, with bag limit of 10 for all species combined. There currently is no seasonal closure.
According to the website, the survey results will help determine the best solutions for a conservation-based approach to angling for the three species of saltwater bass, all of which enjoy game fish status, meaning they are off limits to commercial fishing.