Maryland State Fish - Rockfish (Striped Bass)

[photo, Fisherman and Rockfish caught in Chesapeake Bay at mouth of Severn River, Annapolis, Maryland] The Rockfish (Morone saxatilis) was named the official fish of the State of Maryland in 1965 (Chapter 513, Acts of 1965; Code General Provisions Article, sec. 7-305). Originally called Roccus saxatilis, scientists corrected the genus designation in the late 1960s.

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.

Fisherman and Rockfish caught in Chesapeake Bay at mouth of Severn River, Annapolis, Maryland, April 2016. Photo by William Seiss.

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

[photo, Rockfish catch (from Chesapeake Bay) of three fisherman, Severna Park, Maryland] 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 catch (from Chesapeake Bay) of three fisherman, Severn River, Severna Park, Maryland, April 2003. Photo by Jeffrey M. Seiss (the third fisherman).

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. While the number of rockfish has increased, regulations are in place to ensure the species' survival in Maryland waters.

Chesapeake Bay
Licensing & Registration Service
Maryland Aquaculture
Maryland Government
Maryland Constitutional Offices & Agencies
Maryland Departments
Maryland Independent Agencies
Maryland Executive Commissions, Committees, Task Forces, & Advisory Boards
Maryland Universities & Colleges
Maryland Counties
Maryland Municipalities
Maryland at a Glance

Maryland Manual On-Line

Search the Manual

This information resource of the Maryland State Archives is presented here for fair use in the public domain. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: Rights assessment for associated source material is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

[ Archives' Home Page  ||  All About Maryland  ||  Maryland Manual On-Line  ||  Reference & Research
||  Search the Archives   ||  Education & Outreach  ||  Archives of Maryland Online ]

Governor     General Assembly    Judiciary     Maryland.Gov

Copyright April 26, 2016 Maryland State Archives