What Is a Rockfish?

What Is a Rockfish?
Rockfish is another name for a striped bass. The use of this term is popular in the Chesapeake Bay area. In other regions of the northeastern United States, the rockfish also goes by the moniker striper. It is an important species to sport anglers for recreation and is considered excellent fish for consumption.
 

Identification

The rockfish is readily identifiable by the clearly defined thin black stripes that run along the length of its silver and white flanks. Another identifying characteristic of the rockfish is its large mouth and lower jaw.

 
 

Geography

Rockfish are native to the Atlantic coast of North America, but because of their adaptability they have been widely introduced to freshwater reservoirs, both domestically and abroad, through stocking programs.

Considerations

Rockfish are anadromous, meaning they spend most of their lives in salt water, but migrate into freshwater river systems to spawn. The fertilized eggs develop into larvae, which drift downstream to river deltas and bays that serve as nurseries. The Chesapeake Bay is the major spawning area for striped bass.

Significance

After sharp population declines in the 1980s, rockfish are protected from over-harvesting by measures such as season closures, minimum lengths and possession limits. Striped bass have been known to live more than 30 years.

Fun Fact

The IGFA world record striped bass was caught by Al McReynolds in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Sept. 21, 1982. The fish weighed 78 pounds, 8 ounces, and took four hours to land.

 

Article Written By Paul Weidknecht

Paul Weidknecht’s non-fiction has appeared in "Outdoor Life," "Yale Anglers' Journal," "Fur-Fish-Game," "Snowy Egret," and elsewhere. His fiction has appeared in "Clapboard House," "Potomac Review" online, "Stone's Throw" magazine, "The Oklahoma Review," and "Freight Train" magazine. He lives in northwest New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Muhlenberg College.

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