Brett McBride is the captain of the MV Ocean. He began working on fishing boats at age 12 and went on to work on day-charter boats, long-range charter boats, and long-range private yachts. Over the past 14 years, he has fished from Alaska to Central America as a leading member of ESPN’s Offshore Adventures.
Currently, McBride is working with Dr. Michael Domeier, the Executive Director of The Marine Conservation Science Institute. Their show Great White Expedition is on National Geographic.
Q. What is the disposition of the black sea bass and the black sea bass in Mexico?
A. I once saw a black sea bass when I was ten years old in Southern Baja where a 143 big black sea bass were landed in one night through the following morning. Although that sounds exceptional, sights like that were not uncommon.
Today, I rarely hear any mention of black sea bass from boats traveling between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas. When they are mentioned, it is usually from a stray diver who sees an individual fish or two. I do see them in certain areas where I know colonies are making a comeback which is encouraging. I think most fishermen and divers are now aware of their plight and do their best to release them unharmed. But they are slow growing and vulnerable, and it wouldn’t take too many poachers to do a lot of damage.
Southern California has the advantage over Baja in that it is more protected. The black sea bass are becoming a more common sight in Southern California kelp beds.
Q. You once said that the ocean has given you so much all of your life, and it is time for you to give back. Can you elaborate on these feelings?
A. The ocean really has been my entire life. It has been my calling since I was less than 4 years old. There have been very few days in my life where I was not either fishing, diving or surfing. It was a strong enough calling that I knew early on that I was not going to follow the normal path of finishing high school, going to college then getting a job.
I started working on boats the summer after sixth grade and knew then that that was what I would always do. I followed my passion and had faith that that would be enough. I’ve obviously been very lucky as well. Now that I am older, I see things from a different perspective. I have been able to see the difference in the state of the world’s oceans first hand over almost four decades. Coming from a lifestyle that allowed me to see both
above and below the surface, I realize my perspective is unique. Now, I notice the things that are not there anymore, are less abundant, or are unhealthy. I feel a sense of obligation to give back. To take care of what has always taken care of me.
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