| Atlantic Striped Bass:
(Morone saxatilis (aka - Rockfish, Striper, Linesides)
- Striped bass, once heavily overfished, are now abundant following the implementation of strict management controls on the commercial and recreational fisheries.
- U.S. federal waters (beyond 3 miles offshore) remain closed to striped bass fishing. In October 2007, an Executive Order encouraged states, where applicable, to designate striped bass as a "gamefish" and prohibited commercial sale of striped bass caught in federal waters. Striped bass caught in state commercial fisheries or raised through aquaculture operations are still available to U.S. consumers in supermarkets and restaurants.
- Striped bass is a good source of low-fat protein and selenium. For more on nutrition, see Nutrition Facts. (USDA)
- Striped bass can be wild-caught or farmed. Wild striped bass, often called stripers or rockfish, is caught along the East Coast, mainly in Virginia and Maryland. Most farmed striped bass are actually hybrids, a cross between striped bass and white bass. Both wild caught and farmed striped bass have a slightly sweet flavor.
Life History and Habitat of the Striped Bass:
Striped Bass Life history, including information on the habitat, growth, feeding, and reproduction of a species, is important because it affects how a fishery is managed.
- Striped Bass Geographic range: In the Atlantic, from the St. Lawrence River in Canada to St. John's River in Florida. Also found in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Louisiana. Striped bass has also successfully been introduced in numerous inland lakes and reservoirs and to the Pacific coast where it now occurs from Mexico to British Columbia.
- Habitat: Striped bass larvae and postlarvae drift downstream toward nursery areas located in river deltas and the inland portions of the coastal sounds and estuaries. Juveniles typically remain in estuaries for two to four years and then migrate out to the Atlantic Ocean. Striped bass spend the majority of their adult life in coastal estuaries or the ocean. Important wintering grounds are located from Cape Henry, Virginia, south to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
- Life span: Long - Stripers live up to at least 30 years
- Food: Larvae and post-larvae feed on microscopic animals in riverine and estuarine areas; adults feed on a variety of invertebrates and fish species, particularly clupeids such as menhaden and river herring.
- Growth rate: Variable, depending on a combination of season, location, age, sex, and competition
- Maximum size: Up to 59 inches in length and 55 to 82 pounds in weight; the largest striped bass on record is a 125-pound female caught off North Carolina in 1891. The new world record striper was caught in 2011weighing in at
- Reaches reproductive maturity: Male Stripers mature between the ages of 2 and 4; female striped bass mature between the ages of 4 and 8.
- Reproduction: Striped bass are anadromous, meaning they live in the ocean but return to freshwater to spawn. Mature female striped bass produce large quantities of eggs, which are fertilized by mature males in riverine spawning areas. While developing, the fertilized eggs drift with the downstream currents and eventually hatch into larvae. The larvae and post-larvae begin feeding on microscopic animals during their downstream journey. After their arrival in the nursery areas, located in river deltas and the inland portions of coastal sounds and estuaries, they mature into juveniles.
- Spawning season: From April to June, as they migrate into fresh or brackish water
- Spawning grounds: In fresh or brackish water, with temperatures between 50 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, the Chesapeake Bay spawning areas produce the majority of coastal migratory striped bass, with significant contributions from the Delaware River and Hudson River stocks.
- Migrations: Generally migrate north and south seasonally and ascend to rivers to spawn in the spring. Males in the Chesapeake Bay may forego coastal migrations and remain within the Bay.
- Predators: Bluefish, weakfish, cod and silver hake prey on small striped bass; adult striped bass have few predators, with the possible exception of seals and sharks.
- Commercial or recreational interest: Both
- Distinguishing characteristics: Striped bass have full bodies with long horizontal black lines.