Atlantic Striped Bass

About The Species

U.S. wild-caught Atlantic striped bass is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.

Population Level

Above target population levels.

Fishing Status

At recommended level. There is a moratorium in federal waters.

Habitat Impact

Fishing gears used to harvest striped bass have minimal impacts on habitat.


Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch.


  • According to the 2013 stock assessment striped bass are not overfished and not subject to overfishing.
  • Striped bass have stout bodies with seven to eight continuous horizontal stripes on each side, from their gills to their tail.
  • They are light green, olive, steel blue, black, or brown on top, with a white or silver iridescent underside.
Behavior and Diet
  • Striped bass have a fairly long life, up to 30 years.
  • Growth depends on where they live.
  • Larger striped bass grow to about 5 feet in length and 55 to 77 pounds.
  • Males are sexually mature between the ages of 2 and 4 years old.
  • Females are able to reproduce when they are 4 to 8 years old.
  • Females produce large quantities of eggs, which are fertilized by males as they are released.
  • Larval striped bass feed on zooplankton (microscopic animals).
  • Juveniles eat insect larvae, small crustaceans, mayflies, and other larval fish.
  • Adults are piscivorous (fish-eating) and eat almost any kind of small fish as well as several invertebrates, particularly crabs and squid.
  • Bluefish, weakfish, cod, and silver hake prey on small striped bass.
  • Adults have few predators, with the exception of seals and sharks.
Location Description

Striped bass live along the East Coast from the St. Lawrence River in Canada to St. John’s River in Florida, and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Louisiana.
They were introduced to inland lakes and reservoirs and to the West Coast, where they’re now found from Mexico to British Columbia.

  • Managed by the states from Maine through North Carolina, with coordination by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries CommissionThe Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act direct state and federal conservation efforts for this stock. Both Acts contain provisions to impose a federal moratorium on striped bass fishing in states that fail to comply with the Commission’s management plan. The Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior are required to provide biennial reports to Congress and the Commission on studies of the Atlantic striped bass resource.
  • Managed under the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass.
    • Harvest limits are set at a level that will conserve the striped bass spawning stock so the resource can continue to replace harvested fish. Researchers have determined that the minimum age for female striped bass to reproduce is between the ages of 4 and 8 years. Managers set the target population levels for this species based on the size of the female spawning stock.
    • In state waters, the commercial fishery is currently managed with:
      • State-by-state catch quotas to limit the amount of fish that can be caught.
      • Minimum size limits to protect younger striped bass so they can grow, mature, and reproduce.
      • Gear restrictions.
      • Seasonal fishery closures, mainly to protect spawning populations.
      • Bycatch monitoring and research programs.
    • In state waters, the recreational fishery is managed with:
      • Minimum size and bag limits.
      • Seasonal fishery closures.
    • Federal waters (between 3 and 200 miles offshore) currently remain closed to all commercial and recreational fishing for Atlantic striped bass.