White Sea Bass Project
Giving Back to the Community – the BAC Way
It all started as a vision from Milt Sheds, the co-founder of Sea World, an active fisherman in Newport Beach who realized a need for White Sea Bass in Southern California. Starting in the mid-1950’s, the White Sea Bass numbers dropped to nothing. Sheds wanted to utilize Hubbs – to spawn White Sea Bass, but there was a need to raise fingerlings. Bill Shed (Milt’s sone) took the reigns to approach angling clubs in Southerna California. Jock Albright was president of the Balboa Angling Club in 1992 and was approached by Shed and helped get the ball rolling with the help of the Aftco Staff to establish volunteers in Newport.
Albright approached the City of Newport Beach’s Marine Division and they gave the White Sea Bass project a mooring in the harbor. He also approached Swift Slip who were experienced in fishing wells to raise fish. The first pen in Orange County, with the design adopted from the Salmon Pens in the Channel Islands, was launched in 1993.
Substantial funds were donated to the White Sea Bass Pens from the Pfleger family, various donations from prominent families in Newport Beach as well as the proceeds from the North/South Marlin Tournament. All these donations directly went to the cost of running the pens for the year and to establish a base fund for future years.
The pens are usually filled in the Spring with the release in the Fall. The operation is staffed with volunteers from the Balboa Angling Club as well as others. These volunteers spend countless hours feeding the fish and maintaining the facility. The fish are delivered as small fry, and are then hand bucketed out to the pens in small boats, where they will grow to about 12 inches. Prior to delivery, the fish have a microscopic tag implanted in their heads, which can be scanned if the fish is caught and the head turned into the Hubbs drop off facility. (for a list of locations Click Here).
Balboa Angling Club members volunteer 100’s of hours every year maintaining the pens and is always looking for new volunteers who will be available to maintain the pens and feed the White Sea Bass. If you’d like to participate in the WSB project, and you’re available, responsible and dedicated, contact the Balboa Angling Club via email at [email protected] or call 949.673.6316.