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Maryland State Fish

Rockfish - Striped Bass

Maryland State Fish - Rockfish - Striped Bass

(Morone saxatilis)

Adopted on April 8, 1965.

The first state to adopt the striped bass, (Morone saxatilis,) or rockfish, was Maryland, on April 8, 1965 (Chapter 513, Acts of 1965; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-304). Originally called Roccus saxatilis, scientists corrected the genus designation in the late 1960s. The striped bass complements the diamondback terrapin (a tasty turtle), the blue crab, and the Skipjack- a boat traditionally used to harvest seafood- as official symbols of Chesapeake Bay, among the world's most famous estuaries.

In designating the State fish, the General Assembly prefaced the 1965 law by noting:

    "Whereas, The people of Maryland as long time and appreciative residents of the productive Chesapeake Bay area know of it first hand the recreational and gastronomic delights of this wonderful land, and

    Whereas, Not the least among the good reasons for living in Maryland is the abundant and unexcelled delicacy of the Chesapeake Bay striped bass or rockfish, and

    Whereas, In the judgment of the members of the General Assembly of Maryland, it is a simple act of justice and of equity that this fine old Maryland fish should be honored by being designated as the official fish of the State of Maryland . . . "

Maryland State Fish: Rockfish - Striped Bass

Maryland State Fish - Rockfish - Striped Bass

The striped bass (Morone saxatilis), also called Atlantic striped bass, striper, linesider, rock, or rockfish, is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state saltwater (marine) fish of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Hampshire.

Common Names:

Striper, Rockfish, Linesides

Characteristics of the Rockfish - Striped Bass

Striped bass have a dark, olive-green to bluish-black back and silvery-white sides and belly. There are 7 to 8 black, unbroken, horizontal stripes along the side. Known for its size and fighting ability, the rockfish also is called striped bass. It has an olive green back, fading to light silver on its sides, with a white underside. Seven or eight dark, continuous stripes run from head to tail

Reproduction:

Adult rockfish swim in the ocean but lay their eggs in fresh water. Between April and June, rivers and streams feeding Chesapeake Bay provide spawning grounds for most Atlantic Coast rockfish. Those born in the Bay spend their first 3 to 5 years there before migrating out to the Atlantic, where their life span may be as long as 30 years.

Rockfish is considered by many to be the premier sport and commercial species on the Bay. The silver-flanked, irridescent-striped rockfish is a challenge to catch and a delight to eat. The current Maryland record for rockfish caught in Chesapeake Bay weighed in at 67 pounds, 8 ounces in 1995. Declining stocks, attributed to overfishing and pollution, forced Maryland to impose a moratorium on harvesting the species between 1985 and 1989.

Typical Adult:

20-30 inches, 3-10 pounds. Striped bass can live in excess of 30 years under good habitat conditions and light fishing pressure. Hence they have the potential to reach 48 inches and 60 - 100 lbs or better.

Habitat:Maryland State Fish - Rockfish - Striped Bass

Striped bass are an anadromous species of fish. Anadromous fish inhabits both fresh water and salt water, depending on the time of year. Striped bass live in the Atlantic and Pacific coastal waters and the Gulf of Mexico but enter freshwater streams to spawn. The preferred water temperature is 65-75°F. In South Carolina, striped bass are found in Coastal rivers and estuaries, as well as large impoundments. Adult striped bass prefer water temperatures less than 75 degrees F and will often lose weight and suffer additional health problems when forced to live under warmer conditions. Their over riding selection for temperature can isolate them from prey and acceptable levels of oxygen.

Feeding Behavior:

The diet of striped bass consists mostly of soft-rayed fish. Preferred species in fresh water are threadfin shad, gizzard shad and blueback herring. Striped bass commonly herd schools of prey fish against the surface, where their frenzied feeding can splash water several feet in the air. The heaviest feeding times are at dawn and dusk.

Reproductive Behavior (Spawning):

Adult rockfish swim in the ocean but lay their eggs in fresh water. Between April and June, rivers and streams feeding Chesapeake Bay provide spawning grounds for most Atlantic Coast rockfish. Those born in the Bay spend their first 3 to 5 years there before migrating out to the Atlantic, where their life span may be as long as 30 years.

Prior to spawning in early spring, striped bass migrate up rivers. Spawning occurs when water temperatures reach 60-70°F. Adults swim up tributary streams and spawn below dams or natural obstructions such as rock formations. The semi-buoyant eggs are released iin light to moderate current and fertilized by several males in a thrashing event known as a "fight". As many as 3,000,000 eggs may be released by one female. The eggs require a flow adequate to prevent their settling to the bottom during the incubation period of approximately 50 hours. During their first few days of life the larval fish are sustained by a yolk material while they continue to develop until they can feed on zoo plankton. Adults do not guard the eggs.

Maryland Law

The law designating the striped bass or rockfish as the official Maryland state fish is Section § 13-304 (Fish)  of the Maryland Statutes, State Government, Title 13 (EMBLEMS; COMMEMORATIVE DAYS; MANUAL) Subtitle 3 (ADDITIONAL EMBLEMS; DESIGNATIONS) Section 13-304.

STATE GOVERNMMENT
TITLE 13. EMBLEMS; COMMEMORATIVE DAYS; MANUAL.
SUBTITLE 3. ADDITIONAL EMBLEMS; DESIGNATIONS
SECTION 13-304.

§13-304. Fish.

The striped bass or rockfish (Morone saxatilis) is the State fish.

[An. Code 1957, art. 41, § 71A; 1984, ch. 284, § 1; 2001, ch. 29, § 1; 2002, ch. 19, § 1.]

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Rockfish - Striped Bass

Kingdom: Animalia - animals
Phylum: Chordata - chordates
    Subphylum: Vertebrata - vertebrates
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Family: Moronidae (Temperate basses)
Genus: Morone
Species: Morone saxatilis

State Fishes
State Fish
This is a list of official and *unofficial U.S. state fish: The only states lacking a state fish as of 2008 are Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, and Ohio.
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