December 9, 2016
In early October the Aquarium hatched giant sea bass larvae after a spawning event. One of these larvae survived and is now thriving behind the scenes.
Giant sea bass, which are listed as endangered, are difficult to breed in aquarium environments. Only one other facility has had success in breeding giant sea bass. The Aquarium was able to raise one juvenile to forty-three days in 2003, but this year’s surviving fish has now surpassed that milestone, and husbandry staff members foresee its long-term survival.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is the first public aquarium to successfully breed and raise this species.
The 2003 spawning event occurred when exhibit temperature in Honda Blue Cavern, where the Aquarium’s three adults live, reached 65 degrees F. In 2016 husbandry staff adjusted the water to the same temperature. Within a few days, courtship behavior in the well-established pair was observed, and over the next several days six spawning events took place. Most of the larvae did not survive past the hatch date.
The Aquarium’s work to reproduce this species is particularly important because giant sea bass are listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.