This study was undertaken to estimate the percentage of mature female striped bass Morone saxatilis present in each age-class during annual coastal feeding migration. Migratory striped bass (N = 302) were sampled in coastal Rhode Island waters during spring (May-June) and fall (September-November) from 1985 to 1987. Stocks were identified by analysis of morphometric characters and isoelectric focusing of eye-lens proteins. Histological sections of ovarian tissue were used to categorize maturity state. Fish were considered mature if a class of oocytes measuring at least 150 μm and containing cytoplasmic inclusions was found in the ovarian sections. All females whose age at next potential spawning was 7 and older were mature. Our empirical observations indicated that 12% of fish in age-class 4, 34% of fish in age-class 5, and 77% of fish in age-class 6 were mature. The estimate of the proportion of mature fish in age-class 5 differs significantly from that of Merriman (1941), who also examined coastal migrants. No significant differences were found in maturity estimates of fish from stocks of different origin.
Additional publication details
Age-at-maturity estimates for Atlantic coast female striped bass