Fish of the Day – Striped bass

Posted on May 24, 2019

Today in our Fish of the Day series we are sharing information on Striped bass, the iconic fish of the Shubenacadie River estuary. This week river monitoring for the Alton Project recorded that Striped bass spawning for 2019 is under way. The late spring delayed spawning this year.

Striped bass are being studied as part of the research and monitoring for Alton. Highlights about Striped bass, such as the following information, can be found in Alton’s detailed fish fact sheets:

Biology and life-cycle: Striped bass are large (up to 30kg) long-lived (30 years), repeat spawner, ~1 million eggs per female per year. They spawn in May-June. Their eggs are suspended in the water column and hatch in 2-3 days. Fish less than one year old need to reach 10cm long to survive their first winter.

Habitat: Striped bass are widespread in coastal waters from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to South Carolina. Adults congregate in estuaries in early spring. For the Bay of Fundy population, the nursery habitat for small fish is the brackish (tidal) water of the Shubenacadie River estuary.

Findings of the Alton Gas surveys 2008-2015: Spawning mostly from May 15 to June 10. The number of larvae varies greatly between years. There are more when May and June are warm and dry and salinity high, and fewer when freshwater run off from rainfall is high, as this flushes larvae out of the estuary.

Implications of the Alton Gas project on the fish: At the Alton river site, all life stages of Striped bass are present, from egg to adult. Eggs and larvae drift back and forth past Alton site with the tide. On-going monitoring of all Striped bass life stages is planned before and during Alton operations.

As a protection for Striped bass, brining operations at Alton will shut down every spring for 24 days once the first eggs are detected. 

Alton’s ongoing research and monitoring program for the Shubenacadie River estuary includes studies on Striped bass such as salinity testing, a 96 hour trial and tracking spawning dates

We created the Fish of the Day series in response to members of the public who from time to time ask if Alton has researched the many fish species in the Shubenacadie River estuary.

Detailed fish fact sheets on the Alton website describe research on 20 different fish including Striped bass, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic tomcod, Atlantic sturgeon and American eel.

To learn more about the Alton project visit www.altonnaturalgasstorage.ca, where you also can read the questions and answers in the Fish and Water section of the FAQ.