Baby Sea Bass

Date: 1/2/2008

Just before Christmas a juvenile sea bass (Polyprion americanus) was caught by a commercial fisherman at Leigh, north of Auckland, New Zealand. Fishermen know sea bass as a large fish, weighing between 50-100kg and up to 180cm in length. Even grey in colour and resembling the hapuka (Polyprion oxygeneios) sea bass is a prized catch from depths exceeding 200 metres. The catch caused elation with fisheries scientist Malcolm Francis of NIWA in Wellington because although the mature fish are well known, their young lead cryptic lives and are seldom if ever seen. The baby bass does not resemble its parents in shape nor colour. Juvenile bass are all female as some will become male at a mature age. Dave spotted the little fish under a clump of floating seaweed and was quick to recognise the rarity of the occasion. With a scoop net he fished it from the water. The baby bass is now adapting to the Seafriends marine aquarium in Leigh, where its first diet consisted of common estuarine shrimp (Palaemon affinis). People visiting the Seafriends summer exhibition ‘Secrets of our seas – revealed’ will be able to see the baby bass.

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