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 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.

In the recovery strategy published in September 2011, an area in Anse Sainte-Anne in La Pocatière has been identified as critical habitat, due to a high concentration of juveniles during that period. Since then, inventory and habitat characterization studies allowed to identify areas of importance for reproduction (including the Rivière du Sud basin at Montmagny and the Beauport area at Quebec City) as well as various habitats considered important for feeding and overwintering of adults or for the growth and feeding of larvae and juveniles. This new knowledge will help improve 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. Moreover, the disposal of dredged sediments of the seaway is believed to have reduced the habitat of immature striped bass. They were confined along the south shore, where fishing subsequently became concentrated. These factors led to its extirpation in the late 60s.

In 2002, Quebec’s Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs launched a major reintroduction program and banned the sport and commercial fishing of the river population. This population is susceptible to by-catch in commercial fisheries and, although dredging practices have improved in recent years, they could still pose a threat to the species. Other threats, such as infrastructure development and the disturbance of riparian habitats, contamination, the introduction of obstacles and invasive alien species, could also affect the survival and recovery of the species. Since the population is at the northern limit of the species’ range, it may also be affected by factors that naturally limit abundance, such as interannual variability in recruitment.

Further Information

St. Lawrence striped bass are protected under the Species at Risk Act and by the Quebec Fishery Regulations under the Fisheries Act. 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. An awareness campaign is intended to inform commercial and sport fishers about the obligation to return accidentally captured striped bass to the water. Since the fall of 2013, an annual survey of young-of-the-year individuals is carried out to document the population recruitment.

The progress towards the recovery of the St. Lawrence River striped bass population is detailed in the most recent progress report. For more information about the St. Lawrence River striped bass population, and to know how to contribute to its recovery, consult the updated version of its recovery strategy, which includes an action plan. This document provides an update of the 2011 recovery strategy, based on the current situation and knowledge. This document describes the threats to the species, defines the recovery objectives, outlines the key actions to be taken to protect it and it supplements critical habitat identification.

See the most recent documents and updated information on the species profile in the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River population)

Striped Bass

Illustration: Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs

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

distribution

Range of the St. Lawrence River Striped bass

Copyright Space for Life - Biodôme de Montréal

© Space for Life - Biodôme de Montréal

Did You Know?

Since 2010, more than 400 striped bass have been equipped with an acoustic transmitter to track their movements with approximately 150 telemetry receivers deployed annually in the St. Lawrence River. The data collected showed that the St. Lawrence River striped bass are able to cover more than 40 km in one day!

Striped Bass

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

Related information

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