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Are Striped Bass Saltwater Fish?

surf fisherman with large striped bass

Striped bass, otherwise known as Atlantic striped bass, linesider, rock, striper, or rockfish, or by the scientific name Morone saxatilis, belongs to the Moronidae family. 


This species is abundant up and down the Atlantic coast, as far north as New York, Rhode Island, or Maryland in the St. Lawrence River and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico over to Louisiana. 


Many people wonder are striped bass saltwater fish? The answer is yes, but it’s also no. 


Striped bass is an anadromous fish, which means they can live in both fresh and saltwater. During mating seasons, striped bass head into freshwater to spawn or breed. 


Young striped bass stays in these streams or other freshwater locations while growing. They finally relocate to saltwater before the first winter after they’ve hatched.


When not breeding, adult striped bass prefers to live in the Atlantic Ocean’s salty waters or the Gulf of Mexico. This species is abundant along the US coast. 


Female striped bass classifies as multiple spawners because they can spawn multiple times in their lifetime, unlike other fish species, such as the salmon, which die after a single spawn. This species can have numerous spawns in a season. However, they do not spawn each year.


Unfortunately, a severe threat to the survival of the striped bass species is the loss of habitat, including seagrass beds, which are the nursing grounds for juvenile (young) fish. 


Another growing concern is a disease – mycobacteriosis – which form lesions on the fish’s exterior. Poor water quality with high sediment pollution, phosphorus, and nitrogen put striped bass at risk of developing mycobacteriosis.


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