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California State Marine Fish

Garibaldi Hypsypops rubicundus Adopted: October 15, 1995
California State Marine Fish
California State Marine Fish: Garibaldi

Adoption of the California State Marine Fish

Way back in 1971, the California Department of Fish and Game recommended that the garibaldi be fully protected and not taken for sport or commercial purposes because of relatively limited stocks, poor acceptance as food, and high aesthetic value. The garibaldi's aesthetic value, highlighted by its brilliant orange color, eclipsed its value as a food source. Not much came of this recommendation.

Then the saltwater aquarium industry targeted the garibaldi because of it bright color and relative ease of capture. Legislation was passed in 1993 that was designed to protect the garibaldi from overharvesting.

The legislation required that live capture required a marine aquaria collector's permit and protected the garibaldi from capture during breeding season, specifically from February 1 through October 31. There were reports however, that commercial collection had reduced this fish in areas that sport scuba divers frequented.

In 1994 Assemblyman Bill Morrow introduced Assembly Bill No. 77 to further protect the garibaldi by enacting a moratorium to allow the resource to recover. This bill was backed by Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society, an organization whose mission is to "...explore our global ocean, inspiring and educating people throughout the world to act responsibly for its protection, documenting the critical connection between humanity and nature, and celebrating the ocean's vital importance to the survival of all life on our planet."

Within this bill, Assemblyman Morrow embedded Section 2 that read

SEC. 2. Section 425.6 is added to the Government Code, to read:

425.6. The garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus) is the official state marine fish.

Amendments in the Assembly and in the Senate regarding the protective sections of the bill slowed passage in both houses.

Never questioned, however, was the section specifying the garibaldi as the official state marine fish.

First read in the Assembly in January, 1995, Bill Morrow's bill was finally passed in the Senate in September of the same year.

On October 16, 1995, AB No. 77 was approved by Governor Pete Wilson and the garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus) became the official state marine fish of the State of California.

In 1947, California adopted the brook trout as its official state fish by Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 52


Government Code. California State Legislature:California Law. 2008. 7 February 2008
Bill Information. California State Legislature:California Law. 2008. 7 February 2008
History and Culture - State Symbols.The California State Library. 2008. 7 February 2008
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.

California State Marine Fish
California state marine fish photograph

Additional Information

State Marine Fish: California State Library, History and Culture, State Symbols.

Hypsypops rubicundus: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology: Animal Diversity Web.

Hypsypops rubicundus (Girard, 1854): Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (01/2009).

Hypsypops rubicundus (Girard, 1854): Integrated Taxonomic Information System! Here you will find authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

State Fish: Complete list of official state fish.

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official California state symbols.

Marine: California Department of Fish and Game.

The Ecology of Marine Fishes
The Ecology of Marine Fishes
by Larry G. Allen

The Ecology of Marine Fishes: California and Adjacent Waters, by Larry G. Allen. 670 pages. University of California Press; 1 edition (February 15, 2006) This unique, authoritative, and accessible reference, compiled by 35 luminary ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and ichthyologists, provides a synthesis and interpretation of the large, often daunting, body of information on the ecology of marine fishes. The focus is on the fauna of the eastern Pacific, especially the fishes of the California coast, a group among the most diverse and best studied of all marine ecosystems.

Fishes of the Pacific Coast: Alaska to Peru, Including the Gulf of California and the Galapagos Islands, by Gar Goodson. 267 pages. Stanford University Press; 1 edition (April 1, 1988) These attractive, pocket-sized guides for fish watchers have been carefully written by Goodson and profusely illustrated in striking water colors by Phillip Weisgerber. Although designed for divers, fishers, aquarists and other nonprofessionals, these little books will undoubtedly find their way on to the shelves of many ichthyologists who will value them as quick references and for providing life-like, color renditions of many fish species found in American coastal waters.

A Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes: North America, by William N. Eschmeyer, Earl S. Herald. 352 pages. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (September 1983) More than 600 species are described in detail, with more than 525 illustrations. This is the guide for quick, reliable identification of fishes that you'll encounter while fishing, snorkeling, diving, or even strolling along a Pacific Coast beach.

Reef Fish Identification: Baja to Panama, by Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach. 364 pages. New World Publications (September 2004) More than 500 photos of 400 species taken in their natural habitat. Concise text includes species common, scientific and family names, size range, description, distinctive features, habitat, behavior, depth range and distribution. Includes an appendix on whales and dolphins.

Probably More Than You Want to Know
Probably More Than You Want to Know
by Milton Love

Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast, by Milton Love. 386 pages. Really Big Press; 2nd edition (March 1996) Here comes the Second Edition of Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast. Yes, Milton Love's humorous guide to fishes, beloved and revered by generations of pseudo-marine biologists, is now bigger and better than ever. Now you can thrill to the inside story of white sharks, set your spine atingle with tales of ocean sunfish running amok at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and learn why the garibaldi (now California's state marine fish) is nothing but a psychotic gangster. In addition, Milton will finally set you straight on just what is an El Nino and how smart fish really are (hint, they're not).



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