Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River population)

Morone saxatilis

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Description

This spiny fish with an elongated, laterally compressed body has two separated dorsal fins, the first of which is spiny. It has seven or eight horizontal dark stripes along its sides. In the St. Lawrence, the striped bass can live up to twenty years and reach a total length of 90 cm.

Habitat

Striped bass are typically associated with estuaries and coastal waters. They travel along the coast in compact schools of same-size fish, feeding on invertebrates and fish. Striped bass are an anadromous fish - spawning, incubation and early larval development occur in freshwater in the spring. The young subsequently move downstream to brackish water and then on to salt water where they feed and grow until they reach maturity.

Available knowledge about the quality of the habitat and its use by striped bass in the St. Lawrence River is still limited. In the recovery strategy published in September 2011, an area in Anse Sainte-Anne in La Pocatière has been identified as critical habitat between September 1 and October 31, due to a high concentration of juveniles during that period. Since then, the basin of Rivière du Sud in Montmagny and other important habitats have been identified. This will help complete the identification of the critical habitat of the St. Lawrence River striped bass.

Threats

The St. Lawrence striped bass population was heavily exploited by commercial and sport fishing which led to its extirpation in the late 60s. Moreover, the disposal of dredged material in a section of the seaway is believed to have contributed to confining immature striped bass to a limited area along the south shore where fishing subsequently became concentrated.

In 2002, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec launched a major striped bass reintroduction program and banned the sport and commercial fishing of this species. Dredging could still pose a threat to the species, but its impact should be less important because of improvements in dredging practices. Other threats such as disturbance of habitat, contamination, and exotic invasive species could also affect the survival and recovery of the species.

Further Information

St. Lawrence striped bass are protected by the Species at Risk Act and by the Quebec Fishery Regulations. Under these Regulations, striped bass must be immediately released when caught, in the area where they are caught and with due precaution not to injure the fish. A network monitoring incidental captures of striped bass has been implemented to obtain a first biological portrait of the reintroduced population and a better description of habitat use.

An awareness campaign has been conducted and an educational tool was developed to inform commercial and sports fishermen about the obligation to return accidentally captured striped bass to the water.

For more information about striped bass, St. Lawrence River population, and to know how to contribute to its recovery, consult its recovery strategy. This document describes the twelve threats to the species, defines the recovery objectives, outlines the key actions to be taken to protect it and identifies critical habitat for juveniles.

Species at Risk Public Registry Profile

Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River population)

Striped Bass

Illustration: Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs

Scientific name: Morone saxatilis
SARA Status: Extirpated
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
Region: Quebec

distribution

Range of the St. Lawrence River Striped bass

Photo credit: Montreal Biodome

Photo credit: Montreal Biodome

Did You Know?

Historical First: Reproduction of Striped Bass

A recent scientific study has confirmed the discovery of a first spawning ground of striped bass in the St. Lawrence Estuary, in Montmagny.

Striped Bass

Stocking of Striped Bass, Saint-Michel-de-Bellechasse, 2005
Jean Robitaille

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