Morone saxatilis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Moronidae

Scientific Name: Morone saxatilis (Walbaum, 1792)
Common Name(s):
English Striped Bass
Spanish lobina estriada
Holocentrus saxatilis Suckow, 1799
Perca saxatilis Walbaum, 1792
Perca mitchilli Mitchill, 1815
Perca septentrionalis Bloch & Schneider, 1801
Perca mitchilli alternata Mitchill, 1815
Perca mitchilli interrupta Mitchill, 1815
Roccus striatus Mitchill, 1814
Sciaena lineata Bloch, 1792

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-02-29
Assessor(s): NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Ormes, M.
Listed as Least Concern in view of the large extent of occurrence, large number of subpopulations, large population size, and lack of major threats. Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but likely relatively stable, or the species may be declining but not fast enough to qualify for any of the threatened categories under Criterion A (reduction in population size).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is native to Atlantic Slope drainages from the St. Lawrence River, Canada, south to the St. Johns River, Florida, and Gulf slope drainages from western Florida (Suwannee River) to Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, and apparently to coastal areas of eastern Texas; aside from some remnant populations, native Gulf Coast striped bass no longer occur in the historical range (replaced in some areas by introduced Atlantic Slope fishes). Striped bass has been introduced widely in inland areas of the United States and on the Pacific coast, where it has spread north to British Columbia and south to northern Baja California. It has also been introduced in Eurasia. Sources: Crance (1984), Hill et al. (1989).

In the Caribbean region Morone saxatilis occurs in the northern Gulf of Mexico and off Florida, USA (get reference, WCA FAO).  Depth range??
Countries occurrence:
Canada; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – northwest; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northeast
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is represented by a large number of subpopulations and locations.  Total adult population size is unknown but relatively large.

Population in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has declined steadily since 1960s (Hassler 1988). Chesapeake Bay population has recovered from large declines that extended through the 1970s (Baker 1994).

Morone saxatilis populations have declined in recent years (Heemstra 2002).

Caribbean:  Little population information is available.  [check this]
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a marine and estuarine coastal species that moves far upstream in channels of medium to large rivers during spawning migrations. In coastal areas, it occurs typically within 6 km of shore. Adults in inshore areas occur over a wide range of substrates. The species has been widely introduced in lakes and impoundments. Some populations complete the life cycle in freshwater. In colder months, striped bass tend to seek the warmest water available at depths greater than 1.5 meters.

Striped bass use rivers, tidally influenced fresh waters, and estuaries for spawning and nursery areas. Preferred spawning areas often are shallow (1-20 feet, 0.3-6.1 meters) and turbid and range from the tidal zone to a few hundred kilometers upstream (usually within 38 miles or 60 km of coast). Spawners often seek areas with strong turbulent flow and substrates of rock and/or fine gravel. At Powell Reservoir, Utah, spawning occurred over a rocky shoal in or near the mixing zone of river water and reservoir water.

Eggs are semibuoyant, drift and sink slowly; in riverine populations, current of about 30 cm/sec reportedly is required to keep eggs afloat and prevent death due to settling on bottom (though this may vary with differences in egg buoyancy in different regions). Juveniles apparently prefer clean sandy bottom but have been found over gravel, rock, and (rarely) soft mud; may or may not move to areas of higher salinity in first summer/fall (varies with locality).

See Hill et al. (1989) and Crance (1984) for habitat suitability index model and details on various environmental requirements and tolerances (e.g., temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, toxicants).

Morone saxatilis occurs in rivers, estuaries and near shore waters as well as shallow bays, along beaches and in rocky areas. Some populations of M. saxatilis are landlocked in fresh water. This species is anadromous, seasonally migratory and have been successfully introduced in many areas. M saxatilis is a voracious predator that feeds primarily on fishes and invertebrates and feeding ceases right before spawning (Kells and Carpenter 2011). This species is normally gonochoristic, with a rare incidence of hermaphroditic individuals. Males reach maturity at about two years of age and 17cm total length and female at four to six years and 45cm to 55cm total length. The maximum age for M. saxatilis has been estimated to about 30 years. Fecundity estimates range from 15 000 for a 46cm fish to 4 million for a 13 year-old, 14.5kg fish (Heemstra 2002).

[added by Mia: Please add this information]Distribution, movements, and habitat use of small striped bass (Morone saxatilis) across multiple spatial scalesAuthor(s): Able, KW (Able, Kenneth W.)1; Grothues, TM (Grothues, Thomas M.)1; Turnure, JT (Turnure, Jason T.)1; Byrne, DM (Byrne, Donald M.)2; Clerkin, P (Clerkin, Paul)1Source: FISHERY BULLETIN  Volume: 110   Issue: 2   Pages: 176-192   Published: APR 2012Times Cited: 0 (from Web of Science)Cited References: 61 [ view related records ]     Citation Map     Abstract: Distribution, movements, and habitat use of small (<46 cm, juveniles and individuals of unknown maturity) striped bass (Morone saxatilis) were investigated with multiple techniques and at multiple spatial scales (surveys and tag-recapture in the estuary and ocean, and telemetry in the estuary) over multiple years to determine the frequency and duration of use of non-natal estuaries. These unique comparisons suggest, at least in New Jersey, that smaller individuals (<20 cm) may disperse from natal estuaries and arrive in non-natal estuaries early in life and take up residence for several years. During this period of estuarine residence, individuals spend all seasons primarily in the low salinity portions of the estuary. At larger sizes, they then leave these non-natal estuaries to begin coastal migrations with those individuals from nurseries in natal estuaries. These composite observations of frequency and duration of habitat use indicate that non-natal estuaries may provide important habitat for a portion of the striped bass population.
Systems:Freshwater; Marine
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Morone saxatilis is of high commercial and recreational value and is also sought for sport (Kells and Carpenter 2011, get references).  Morone saxatilis is caught by anglers as well as with beach seines, fyke nets, gill nets, pound nets, fish traps, and otter trawls. M. saxatilis is marketed fresh or filleted and frozen (Heemstra 2002). Recreational landings for M. saxatilis make up about 75-80% of the coastal landings. In 2005, almost 60% of all striped bass sold in the United States were grown in aquaculture. Aquaculture for hybrid M. saxatilis (Morone chrysops x Morone saxatilis) began in 1986, and production peaked in the early 2000s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2012). 

Caribbean?  [check to find landings from Gulf of Mexico]

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Declines in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (where introduced) is attributed primarily to toxic substances and to entrainment of young in water diversion structures (Hassler 1988). Habitat destruction affected populations in Hudson River, Chesapeake Bay, and Albemarle Sound, resulting in drastic declines in mid-20th century (Hill et al. 1989). Excess harvest contributed the decline along the U.S. east coast in the late 1970s and early 1980s; hatchery production and restrictions on the harvest resulted in population increases in the Chesapeake Bay region by the early 1990s (Diamond 1990).

Caribbean:  Alterations in habitat quality have eliminated native bass populations from most of original range along Gulf of Mexico; but populations increasing due to stocking (Hill et al. 1989).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Currently, this species is of relatively low conservation concern and does not require significant additional protection or major management, monitoring, or research action.

The are commercial and recreational limits for Morone saxatilis are managed by state jurisdictions (Maryland Department of Natural Resources 2012, Virginia Marine Resources Commission 2012).

Citation: NatureServe. 2013. Morone saxatilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T192942A18230574. . Downloaded on 24 March 2018.
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