Genetic research indicates many more white bass caught in California are hatchery fish than previously thought | BDExterior


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Many more white bass caught in California are hatchery fish than previously thought, genetic research shows

The new results contrast sharply with the coded wire tags recovered

A new study conducted four years ago by a team of marine fisheries and genetics specialists indicates that there are significantly more white bass swimming in California ocean waters from the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research hatchery. Institute (HSWRI) than previously thought.

Presented at the Aquaculture 2022 conference in early March in San Diego, Calif., the preliminary results contrast sharply with a 2017 study which indicated that less than 1% of white bass caught in California came from Operation Carlsbad, officially known as of Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP). The researchers based their findings on recovered coded metal tags that are routinely implanted in all juvenile white bass in the hatchery.

In the new study led by HSWRI and a research team from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Ellen Reiber, a graduate student at the College of Charleston, used genetic markers recovered from tissue samples and archived otoliths (white bass inner ear bones) from spawning stock and approximately 700 under-legal size fish caught in coastal areas of Newport Beach, Oceanside, and San Diego since the mid-1990s. A comparative analysis of genetic markers has revealed that 46.2% of white bass caught in these areas came from the hatchery, compared to only 7.4% with coded metal tags.

Also very interesting, of 50 adult bass caught in the commercial fishery in Mexico, 30% were identified as hatchery origin, but none could be identified as having a coded metal tag. These results suggest a major problem with the reliability of the coded-wire tagging system for long-term identification of hatchery-reared white bass, says Mark Drawbridge, principal investigator for HSWRI and a member of the team that undertook the study. genetic study.

“Obviously a lot of the coded metal tags were lost or lost their detection signal,” Drawbridge said. “We don’t know the reason, but we need to understand why – it will be a priority for our continued research.”

Awaiting peer review and publication in a scientific journal, the study entitled Population genetics and stock enhancement tools for the conservation of overfished white basssheds new light on the effectiveness of OREHP.

“This new study changes everything,” says Wayne Kotow, executive director of the Coastal Conservation Association of California and vice president of Ocean Research and Enhancement.

Advisory Panel, which helps guide OREHP’s efforts. “While the impact of OREHP had previously been considered minimal, this study sheds a much more positive light on the hatchery program.

“Fishermen have always been suspicious of the results of the previous study because it ran counter to the large white bass fishery we’ve seen in Southern California for the past 15 to 20 years,” adds Kotow. “Now we know that those suspicions were more than justified. It feels like sweet redemption for those of us at CCA Cal who have always believed so strongly in the white bass hatchery program.

CCA Cal has been a key partner with OREHP, particularly in maintaining the hatchery grow-out enclosure network in ports and bays along the Southern California coast and the island of Santa Catalina. The fry are transferred from the Carlsbad hatchery to the pens, where CCA Cal volunteers feed and care for the fish until the white bass reach approximately 9 to 10 inches in length, at which time they are released. CCA Cal volunteers also participate in OREHP’s brood collection efforts.

Funded largely by sales of the Ocean Enhancement Stamp required on annual California fishing licenses for anglers fishing in ocean waters between Point Arguello and the Mexican border, OREHP has released over 2.5 million bass juvenile whites along the Southern California coast and Santa Catalina Island since 1986. The program was established in 1983.

CCA Cal was established in 2015 when recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts came together to work to conserve and enhance our marine resources and coastal environments. Today, he works to protect not only the health, habitat and sustainability of our marine resources, but also the interests of recreational saltwater anglers. Our goal is to protect your access to the marine resources you cherish and enjoy every day. CCA Cal consists of 2,300 members in 6 Southern California locals.

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