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Atractoscion nobilis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES SCIAENIDAE

Scientific Name: Atractoscion nobilis
Species Authority: (Ayres, 1860)
Common Name(s):
English Seatrout, White seabass, White weakfish
French Acoupa blanc
Spanish Corvina cabaicucho, Corvinata blanca, Corvinata bronzeada
Synonym(s):
Cynoscion nobilis Ayres, 1860
Johnius nobilis Ayres, 1860
Otolithus californiensis Steindachner, 1876

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2007-05-22
Assessor(s): Chao, L., Robertson, R., Espinosa, H., Findley, L. & van der Heiden, A.
Reviewer(s): Carpenter, K., Polidoro, B. & Livingstone, S. (Global Marine Species Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species is relatively widespread in the Eastern Pacific, but has been historically over-fished resulting in population decline and range reduction. The population in the United States is still low relative to historical levels but has increased over the past 30 years due to fishery regulations and a captive breeding program. Recovery depends on continuation of current regulations. It is listed as Least Concern. But more survey work and continued monitoring of this species is required, especially for the disjunct subpopulation in the Gulf of California whose status is unknown, but suspected to be in serious decline from over-fishing.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to the Eastern Pacific, and is found from Alaska to the Gulf of California. However, no recent records are available for the northern part of its range.
Countries:
Native:
Canada; Mexico; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northeast
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species was previously an important fishery species in California, but the population declined to commercial extinction. Populations are recovering due to fishery regulations along the coast of California that have placed restrictions on recreational fisheries and banned further commercial catch of this species (gill nets are prohibited). No population information exists for the subpopulation in the Gulf of California, but it is suspected to be in decline due to continued intensive fishing with gill nets.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This demersal fish often occurs in schools over rocky bottoms and in kelp beds to depths of 125 m. It can also be found in the surf zone, with young fish found in bays and along sandy beaches (Eschmeyer et al. 1983). This species feeds on fishes, squids, and crayfish (Hart 1973).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has been historically over-fished throughout its distribution. Its population has declined since the early part of this century, corresponding to a decline in landings since the late 1920s. Its range is now likely reduced as few are found regularly north of Point Conception, in northern California. In addition to over-fishing, pollution and habitat destruction have probably contributed to this long-term population decline and range reduction.

However, the large numbers of small White Seabass caught in recent years suggests that the warm water period beginning with the 1982-1983 El Niño event helped to increase young sh survival. Young sh surveys conducted in southern California as part of Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP), showed a dramatic increase in the number of fish taken in research gillnet sets. During research work in 1997 over 600 juvenile sh were captured, in 1998 approximately 700 sh were taken, and in 1999 slightly over 1,300 juveniles were captured. Anecdotal evidence from commercial and sport shers conrms this dramatic increase in juvenile White Seabass. However, it is unknown whether this increase in juveniles will subsequently enhance the adult spawning population (Vojkovich and Crooke 2001)

The subpopulation within the Gulf of California, from approximately Guaymas northward, appears to be completely disjunct and is still heavily fished by gillnet. No population data exists but the species in this region is suspected to be in serious decline.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a captive breeding program in California for this species, and numerous fishery regulations now in place to help restore this species population, including restrictions on recreational fisheries and further commercial catch of this species (gill nets are prohibited). In March 2004, legislation was enacted to prohibit increased fishing production of the species (Legislation number: NOM-009-PESC-1993). Commercial fishing of this species is now prohibited in California.

This species may be present in some Marine Protected Areas in Mexico, the Unites States and Canada. However, more enforcement in is needed, especially in Marine Protected Areas outside of the United States.

Research is needed to determine the status of the subpopulation of this species in the Gulf of California.

Citation: Chao, L., Robertson, R., Espinosa, H., Findley, L. & van der Heiden, A. 2010. Atractoscion nobilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 September 2014.
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