Striped Bass Of New York State

917 words - 4 pages

The striped bass (Morone saxatilis), also known as the striper or rockfish, can be identified essentially by the darkish horizontal bands across its silver body. Striped bass can grow to over four feet long (122 centimeters), weigh over fifty pounds (23 kilograms) and live up to thirty years. The New York State record for a striped bass is a 76 pound fish (34 kilograms) caught off the coast of Montauk in 1981. The biggest striped bass on record is a 125 pound fish (56 kilograms) caught off the coast of North Carolina in 1891. Most heavy striped bass, specifically those over 30 pounds, are apt to be female. These queen-sized fish are often called cows. Striped bass eat a wide-ranging diet; they feed upon other species of fish, such as menhaden and eel, as well as crustaceans and other invertebrates, including crabs, lobster, and squid. These fish graze along the Atlantic coast from the St. Lawrence River in Canada to the St. Johns River in Florida. Striped bass are anadromous fish: they're spawned in freshwater rivers but will spend their adult lives in the ocean. In New York, the Hudson River is the principal breeding ground for striped bass. During the springtime, mature striped bass swim up to the headwaters of the Hudson River to spawn. The embryos float downriver until hatching some days after they were spawned. The striped bass larvae proceed to float downstream until they arrive at the estuaries, moving toward regions such as Haverstraw Bay to the Tappan Zee Bridge. These areas function as nurseries for the larvae and immature fish throughout the summer. By late summertime and into fall, these young fish move into the estuaries of New York Harbor and western Long Island bays, where they'll live until they are big enough to join the adults off the coast. Adult striped bass maintain a seasonal migration pattern. They swim south and offshore from New York waters during the winter and migrate back north and inshore during the spring. In the springtime, full-grown adults once again head upstream to breed. The striped bass fish has always been an all-important recreational and commercial fish and holds a lengthy history of management along the eastern seaboard. It was the first fish to get harvesting regulations put in place. During early colonial times striped bass were so numerous that they were misused for fertilizing farm fields. Recognizing the importance of these fish as food, Massachusetts banned the practice in the 1600's. Throughout the 20th century, there were plenty of attempts at striped bass preservation and coastal-wide management. These endeavors, however, were unsuccessful and could not prevent a drastic drop of the population in the early 1980s. Strict management measures were authorized to help the population regain its numbers. The...

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