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The striped bass (Morone saxatilis, also called Atlantic striped bass, stripers, rock, pimpfish or rockfish) is the state fish of Marylandmarker, Rhode Islandmarker, South Carolinamarker, and the state saltwater (marine) fish of New Yorkmarker and New Hampshiremarker. They are also found in the Minas Basin and Gaspereau River in Nova Scotia Canada.

Morphology and lifespan

The striped bass is a typical member of the Moronidae family in shape, having a streamlined, silvery body marked with longitudinal dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail. Maximum size is 200 cm (6.6 ft) and maximum scientifically recorded weight 57 kg (125 US pounds). Striped bass are believed to live for up to 30 years.

Distribution

Natural distribution

Striped bass are native to the Atlanticmarker coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence Rivermarker into the Gulf of Mexico to approximately Louisianamarker. They are anadromous fish that migrate between fresh and salt water. Spawning takes place in fresh water.

Introductions outside their natural range

Striped bass have been introduced to the Pacific Coast of North America and into many of the large reservoir impoundments across the United States by state game and fish commissions for the purposes of recreational fishing and as a predator to control populations of gizzard shad. These include: Elephant Butte Lakemarker in New Mexico; Lake Ouachitamarker, Lake Norfork, Beaver Lake and Lake Hamilton in Arkansas; Lake Powellmarker, Lake Pleasantmarker, and Lake Havasumarker in Arizona; Castaic Lake, Pyramid Lakemarker, Silverwood Lakemarker, Diamond Valley Lakemarker, Lake Cumberlandmarker, and Lake Murraymarker in California; Lake Lanier in Georgia; Reelfoot Lakemarker, Tennessee; and Lake Meadmarker, Nevada; and in Texas, Lake Texomamarker, Lake Tawakonimarker, Lake Whitneymarker, Possum Kingdom Lakemarker, and Lake Buchananmarker.

Striped bass have also been introduced into waters in Ecuadormarker, Iranmarker, Latviamarker, Mexicomarker, Russiamarker, South Africa, and Turkeymarker primarily for sport fishing and aquaculture.

Environmental factors

The spawning success of striped bass has been studied in the San Francisco Baymarker-Delta water system, with a finding that high total dissolved solids (TDS) reduce spawning. At levels as low as 200 mg/L TDS there is an observable diminution of spawning productivity.

Former President of the United States George W. Bush in an Executive Order on October 20, 2007 designated the Striped Bass as a protected game fish. This prohibits sale of Striped Bass caught in Federal waters and encourages states to consider designating Striped Bass as a protected game fish within state waters.

Life cycle

Illustration of a group of striped bass
Striped bass spawn in freshwater and although they have been successfully adapted to freshwater habitat, they naturally spend their adult lives in saltwater (i.e., it is anadromous). Four important bodies of water with breeding stocks of striped bass are: Chesapeake Bay, Massachusetts Baymarker/Cape Codmarker, Hudson River and Delaware River. It is believed that many of the rivers and tributaries that emptied into the Atlantic, had at one time, breeding stock of striped bass. One of the largest breeding areas is the Chesapeake Bay, where populations from Chesapeake and Delaware bays have intermingled. There are very few successful spawning populations of freshwater striped bass, including Lake Texomamarker and the Arkansas Rivermarker as well as Lake Marion marker that retained a landlocked breeding population when the dam was built; other freshwater fisheries must be restocked with hatchery-produced fish on an annual basis. Stocking of striped bass was discontinued at Lake Mead in 1973 once natural reproduction was verified.

Hybrids with other bass

Striped bass have also been hybridized with white bass to produce hybrid striped bass also known as sunshine bass, palmetto bass, or wiper with the white perch to produce white perch hybrid also known as Virginia bass or Maryland bass; and yellow bass to produce paradise bass. These hybrids have been stocked in many freshwater areas across the U.S.

Fishing for striped bass

Striped bass are of significant value as sport fishing, and have been introduced to many waterways outside their natural range. A variety of angling methods are used, including trolling and surfcasting. Striped bass will take a number of live and fresh baits including bunker, clams, sandworms, herring, bloodworms,mackereland sun perch heads. The largest striped bass ever caught by angling was a 35.6 kg (78.5 lb) specimen taken in Atlantic Citymarker, New Jerseymarker on September 21, 1982.. The striped bass are an endangered specias and recreational limits vary by state. You should consult your state's fishing regulations for details on number and size limits.

Management

The Striped bass population declined to less than 5 million by 1982, but efforts by fishermen and management programs to rebuild the stock proved successful, and in 2007, there were nearly 56 million fish, including all ages. Recreational anglers and commercial fisherman caught an unprecedented 3.8 million fish in 2006. The management of the species includes size limits, commercial quotas, and biological reference points for the health of the species. Overfishing of striped bass no longer occurs, which can be seen in their impressive comeback.

References

  1. Striped Bass Management Plan retrieved on 10 June 2007.
  2. Pennysylvania State Fish & Boat Commission, Gallery of Pennsylvania Fishes, Chapter 21. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  3. Indiana Fish and Wildlife, Evaluation of Striped Bass Stockings at Harden Reservoir. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  4. Kaiser Engineers, California, Final Report to the State of California, San Francisco Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Program, State of California, Sacramento, CA (1969)
  5. Chesapeake Bay Program, Striped Bass
  6. Wilde, G. R. and L.J. Paulson. 1989. Food habits of subadult striped bass in Lake Mead Arizona-Nevada. The Southwestern Naturalist 34(1) 118-123.
  7. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Status of the Striped Bass/Hybrid Bass Bass Fishery March 2006 retrieved 10 June 2007.
  8. Pennysylvania State Fish & Boat Commission, Gallery of Pennsylvania Fishes, Chapter 21. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  9. New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife


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