An Anadromous fish - the Striped Bass
The Striped Bass is an anadromous perciform fish of the Moronidae family. Native to the Atlantic Coast of North America from St Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana. Other names include Atlantic Striped Bass, Striped, Linesider, Rock or Rockfish. A sea fish that has been widely introduced to inland recreational fisheries across the United States.
The state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island and South Carolina and the State Saltwater fish of New York, New Jersey, Virginia and New Hampshire. An anadromous fish migrating between freshwater and saltwater.
Description of Striped Bass
Have a streamlined, silvery body marked with longitudinal dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail. Generally, ranging from 20 to 40 pounds. However, the world record is 124 pounds. Further, their average length ranges from 20 to 35 inches. While, these fish may live up to 30 years.
Communication and Perception
While, the striper has a keen sense of small and only marginal vision. They rely on the lateral line for sensory perception. Detecting sound waves, velocity and pressure. Therefore, allowing them to avoid predation. Further, they acute sense of smell guides them to their natal spawning grounds and assists them to avoid potential predators. Meanwhile, the number of rods and cones in their retinas in their eyes gives them similar vision to humans. Therefore, allowing them to see in low light conditions with color vision.
Their dietary habits change with age. The striper larvae feed predominately on zooplankton. While, the juveniles feed on insect larvae, mayflies, small crustaceans and larval fish. Meanwhile, the adults are piscivorous and feed on fish. Namely, anchovy, Atlantic Silversides, Yellow Perch and Atlantic Menhaden. Striper feed at night in benthic habitats and may even chase their prey to the water’s surface if required.
Reproduction and Migrations
Sexual maturity in the males is reached between the ages of two and four and in females between four and eight. Female striper produce large quantities of eggs which are fertilized by males in riverine spawning areas. The fertilized eggs drift in the downstream currents and eventually hatch into larvae. These feed on microscopic animals during their downstream journey.
While, they eventually arrive in river delta nursery areas where they mature into juveniles. Generally, migrate from brackish water to freshwater to spawning from April to June. However, landlocked populations have a hard time reproducing naturally. Generally, migrate north and south seasonally, especially for breeding purposes.
Furthermore, the Striper may reproduce with the White Bass to form the Hybrid Striped Bass.
Introduced to the Pacific Coast of North America and some large reservoir impoundments across the United States, Ecuador, Iran, Latvia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey. Reservoirs in the United States where the Striper occur include Elephant Butte Lake, Lake Ouachita, Lake Norman, Lake Norfork, Beaver Lake, Lake Hamilton, Lake Thunderbird, Lake Pleasant, Lake Havasu, Lake Powell, Castaic Lake, Pyramid Lake and Silverwood Lake.
As well as, Diamond Valley Lake, San Francisco Bay, Lewis Smith Lake, Lake Cumberland, Lake George, Lake Murray, Lake Lanier, Watts Bar Lake, Lake Mead, Lake Texoma, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Whitney, Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Buchanan, Raystown Lake, Lake Wallenpaupack, Smith Mountain Lake, Leesville Lake, Lake Moultrie, Lake Marion and Lake Lavon.
Use of the Striped Bass by Humans
Recreational fishing and as a predator to control populations of bait fish like the gizzard shad. As well as, being used in aquaculture operations throughout the entire United States. Striped Bass is a white meat with a mild flavour and medium texture. Therefore, extremely versatile and cooking methods include pan-searing, grilling, steaming, poaching, broiling, roasting, sauté and deep frying. However, can also be eaten raw or pickled. As a food, is available year-round.
Predators and Parasites
Fishing for Striper
Striper have a significant value in recreational fishing industries as a sport fish. Various methods used to catch the fish are trolling or surf casting with topwater lures, live bait and dead baits.
While, fresh baits may include clams, eels, sandworms, bunder, herring, bloodworms, shad, mackerel, bluegills, worms, crayfish or synthetic lures like bucktail jigs and silver spoons.
Striped Bass with Brown Butter, Capers and Lemon
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 eight-ounce striped bass fillets
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup caperberries
Juice of 1 lemon, and lemon slices for garnish
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish
In a bowl, combine the flour, peppers, and salt. Place the fillets in the flour mixture making sure to coat them well, shaking off any excess flour.
In a heavy saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until nut brown and foaming. However, do not burn it. Place the fish fillets skin side down in the pan and sauté until cooked on that side, approximately 3 – 4 minutes. Turn the fillets over and sauté on the other side for three minutes.
Drain excess butter and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the capers, caper berries, lemon juice, and wine. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to enrich the sauce.
Remove the fish. Place on a serving platter, cover the fish with the sauce. Garnish with the chopped parsley and lemon slices.
Conservation and Management
By 1982 the Striped Bass population had declined to less than 5 million. While, efforts by anglers to throw back lengths of smaller stripers and management programs to rebuild and restock water sources proved successful. Thus, by 2007, there were nearly 56 million fish including all ages. Some of the management factors used for the striper include size limits, commercial quotas and biological reference points for the health of the species.
Furthermore, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced that the Atlantic Striped Bass populations have experience massive over-fishing over the past years. Therefore, declared a closure to the trophy Striper recreational fishing season. However, another method of management has included the replenishment and re-population of the species in their original spawning grounds in coasters rivers and estuaries in the North East.