Balboa Angling Club White Sea Bass Grow Out Pen

sseabass pens

Title of Project:

Balboa Angling Club White Sea Bass Grow Out Pen

Sponsored By:

Balboa Angling Club, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute

Project Description:

The motto of the Balboa Angling Club is  "We are a family of fishing men, women and children who all love the outdoors, the strike of a fish and the satisfaction of the Catch or Release.  We encourage conservation and are closely affiliated with many conservation groups including United Anglers of California, IGFA, the Pacific Fisheries Enhancement Foundation, and we operate and manage the White Seabass grow out pens here in Newport Beach".

In 1995 the Balboa Angling Club volunteered to assist in operating and maintaining a white sea bass grow out pen in Newport Beach Harbor. They applied for and received monies from the Pacific Fisheries Enhancement Foundation and constructed four individual pens.

During the months May-October, when conditions are suitable, there are approximately 5000-6000 juvenile white sea bass transported from the hatchery in Carlsbad to the Newport Beach grow out facility.  When these fish arrive they are about 3 inches in length.  They are kept for around 3½ months and released in the fall at a length of 9-10 inches.  In 2009, of the 5600 fish received, 4000 were successfully released.

Along with Newport Beach, there are 12 other grow out pens up and down the coast in harbors from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

white sea bass pens


Physical: One person a day to provide maintenance of the dock and pens. When fish are in the pens, 2-3 people per day for feeding and maintenance.



The BAC did have to get permits from the City of Newport Beach to build the pens.


John Zartler is the head volunteer for this program and he recruits volunteers through the club.

Estimated Costs:

After the initial cost of building pens, the subsequent costs are for maintenance only. Since the HSWRI provides food, those costs are taken care of.  Estimated costs are around $2000-$3000 dollars per year. This money comes form the BAC and private donations.

Estimated Time Requirements:

John Zartler, a BAC member has volunteered to head up this program for the BAC. During the months that fish are in the pens he is there 5-7 days out of the week for 1-2 hours each day. When fish are added and released, there are approximately 15 volunteers from the club that are available to help.  Throughout the year a few volunteers help with maintenance and cleaning of the pens.

white seabass grow pens

Difficulties Encountered:

In the past, some of the difficulties have been poor water quality in the harbor, which has resulted in poor health of the fish.



Each fish implanted with a "tag", which is a microscopic chip that has the fish's age and location of release as well as other important information.  When a fish is captured, the head is then scanned and if there is a chip the information is recorded.  This tells the hatchery where the fish has traveled and perhaps helps to establish some type of migratory pattern.  Uncovering this type of information is just one of the many benefits of this program.  The volunteers get a tremendous amount of satisfaction knowing that they are helping to re-establish a healthy population of white sea bass in the Southern California waters.


John Zartler - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ?BAC Clubhouse -

The Sportfishing Conservancy:?Jenny Armstrong - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (949) 813-7831



Department of Fish & wildlife