South Carolina State Fish
Striped Bass (common name)
Morone saxatilis (scientific name)
The striped bass has a streamlined body with a dark green to bluish-black back and silvery sides marked with seven to eight dark, horizontal stripes running from its gills to its tail. Bass are extremely popular sport fish that are born and live their first two years in freshwater and then migrate to saltwater when mature. The striped bass is the state fish of South Carolina (1972), Maryland (1965), and Rhode Island (2000), and the state saltwater fish of New York (1975).
The striped bass is a very important fish historically to the Atlantic coast states both in terms of commercial and recreational fishing. In the 17th century, the Plymouth Plantation colonists were netting thousands of bass and salting them for use over the winter. By 1776, over-fishing had taken a toll on the bass and New York and Massachusetts prohibited all sales of the fish in the winter months. Continuous harvesting of striped bass continued into the 20th century, but a severe decline in the 1970s resulted in the increased regulation, conservation action, and some calls for a complete ban on the commercial fishing of striped bass.
Length: Up to 48 in (122 cm); average of 24 in (60 cm)
Weight: Up to 100 lbs (45 kg); average of 6.5 lbs (3 kg)
Up to 30 years
Inhabits large bodies of deep, clear ocean water no further than five miles (8 km) from shore; migrates to freshwater streams to spawn.
Range: Native to the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River to the St. John’s River in Florida with an isolated population on Louisiana’s gulf coast. Also introduced to the Pacific coast of North America and to large reservoirs all across the United States, as well as to Iran, Latvia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey.
Water type: Saltwater, brackish water, and freshwater
Water temp: 55-70°F (13-21°C)
Elevation: Down to 650 feet (200 m)
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Fish (threadfin, gizzard shad, menhaden, herring, minnows), crabs, shrimp, squid, lobsters, and mollusks. Juvenile bass feed on plankton, insects, and freshwater shrimp. Feeding is primarily at dawn and dusk.
Spawning frequency: Mid-February to Early May
Mating behavior: Distinct pairing
Egg laying: Adults swim upstream and spawn below natural rock obstructions or dams. Several males will court a single female, who lays her eggs in moving freshwater or brackish water. A female can lay up to three million eggs. After the eggs are laid, males will brush against the female to stimulate spawning and their milt will fertilize the eggs. The eggs float freely for two days, without being guarded, before they hatch.
Game fish, aquaculture
Striper, rockfish, linesides, pimpfish
Click to enlarge an image
Raw Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press