Dedicated to the advancement of
sustainable fisheries management

Tracking the Movement Patterns of White Seabass

Objective: To better comprehend the vertical and horizontal movement patterns, catch rates, and temperature preferences of the white seabass.

This project is a multi-phase study that uses electronic data-logging tags to document depth distribution, temperature preferences and migration patterns of white seabass along the California and Baja California coastlines.  Adult white seabass are tagged and released during the spring and summer months in areas where spawning aggregations are targeted by the recreational fleet.  To date, the PIER team has deployed over 300 archival tags in white seabass ranging from 28 to 60 inches (7 to 65 lbs).    

The first phase of this work has now been completed and a scientific manuscript is being prepared on project findings.  Surprisingly, the study revealed a relatively high recapture rate of 23%, with 39 out of the first 170 tags recaptured by fishers.   

Based on the high recovery rate and wide geographic span of tag returns in phase 1, the  PIER team is currently deploying geolocating tags to further investigate questions related to white seabass inter-annual movement patterns.  Additional tag deployments are scheduled for this season to continue with the second phase of this tagging study.  

The success of this project is dependent upon fisher involvement through the return of recaptured tags. Tagged seabass are readily identifiable with a yellow dart tag near the dorsal fin and a white stalk protruding from the underside of the fish.  The return of a recaptured tag receives a reward of $200 and a tagging project T-shirt. Reward and contact information are labeled on all tags.   

Learn more about the biology of the white seabass

Learn more about white seabass fishery and management

Other on-going white seabass research

This work is supported by the George T. Pfleger Foundation and the Offield Family Foundation.

More About P.I.E.R.  
The Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research, PIER, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Oceanside, California.