June 14, 2013 – Thanks to over 100 volunteers, we have put in 15,000 baby fish into pen 1, and will be putting in 21,000 more fish into pen 2! Click here to see pictures from the event.

March 8, 2013 – We released over 7,000 large and healthy fish! We have been feeding and raising them since August. Click here to read the Port of San Diego’s story online. Stay tuned to find out when we will be getting our next batch of hatchlings!

February 23, 2013 –

Thanks to all of the volunteers who came out to count over 7,000 fish this Saturday! We had volunteers of all ages come out to learn about our white seabass restoration program.

Upcoming Events

White Seabass Feeder Orientation


All new feeders need to attend a short 30min orientation before becoming a feeder. We will show you how to properly feed the fish, monitor their health and activity, and collect scientific field notes. After the orientation, you can sign up for any day/time that works with your schedule! If you have any questions or would like to RSVP, please send an email to


All of our White Seabass events take place at:

San Diego Bay Pens
N. Harbor Drive & Hawthorn Street, San Diego , CA 92101
Google Maps

The White Seabass Restoration Project was established to reintroduce white seabass to California coastal waters. An important game fish and commercial food fish, a decade ago, white seabass virtually disappeared from California. Surveys showed the loss of habitat, specifically the loss of wetlands that are important nursery habitats for the fish, along with heavy commercial fishing, and the development of gill nets depleted the white seabass populations to 10% of what they were only 50 years ago.

To help change this course, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife instituted the “Oceans Resources and Hatchery Enhancement Program” (ORHEP), and funded the Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute’s (HSWRI) experimental marine fish hatchery in Carlsbad, California. At this facility, white seabass are bred from larval stage to 3-inches at which point a small “tag” inscribed with fertilization date and brood stock information is inserted into the jaw bone of the juvenile fish. The fish are then transported to one of 15 grow-out facilities along the California coast.

Volunteer Component

SDOF maintains two grow-out facilities and is one of the major volunteer components of the HSWRI program. The grow-out facilities consist of netted pens in the bay. This is an economical way to maintain large volumes of fish prior to release and allow the developing fish to acclimate to ocean water.

After 3-4 months, the fish reach a size of about 12 inches and are released from the pens directly into local waters – in hopes that they will survive to adulthood. To date, more than 1,000,000 white seabass have been released to the ocean through the ORHEP Program – 90,000+ of which were reared by SDOF volunteers!

Our volunteers feed and monitor the health of the fish every day. We rely on our volunteers to collect data on water quality conditions, presence of predators, general fish health and feeding activity. The great thing about being a white seabass volunteer is that you can choose when you volunteer! After you have attended a short orientation, just check our feeding calendar and then send an email to: to sign up for a day/time that works best with your schedule.


Save Your White Seabass Heads!

Recreational anglers are encouraged to drop off white seabass heads at one of the freezer drop off locations listed here. Please include the location information for where the fish was caught as well as the date. The heads will be scanned for the embedded tags to collect the appropriate age and genetic stock information.


Visit our Sustainable Seafood page to learn how you can make choices that support healthy oceans when eating a seafood meal!
Union Tribune Article on White Seabass Restoration Project