A late night fish
At sundown, from May to October, all along the Chaleur Bay beaches, fishermen throw their lines, knee deep in water. Whether they are angling or fly fishing, they are all after the same fish, the striped bass. This fish, named after the seven or eight dark horizontal bands on its side, lives close to the coast in marine and estuaries waters. It is an anadromous fish, which means it lives in salt water and spawns in brackish or fresh water, even if some populations complete their life cycle in fresh water. Once an adult, the striped bass forms big schools to feed, mainly at night. It is a voracious and opportunistic fish, eating many species of fish and invertebrates, mainly crustaceans.
The Chaleur Bay striped bass is from the Miramichi river population, in New Brunswick. In eastern Canada, there are three sectors where the striped bass is found: the Fundy Bay, the south of the gulf (from which the Miramichi River population is from) and the Saint Lawrence estuary. The estuary population was declared extinct by the COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) in November 2004, after no observations were made since the 60’s. From 2002 to 2009, a recovery plan was set up to reintroduce the striped bass in the Saint Lawrence River. To this date, the population is designed endangered, but an improvement is still observed.
As the resource is plentiful in the Chaleur Bay, and that it is now allowed, on certain dates, to keep the striped bass, let us take advantage of this beautiful fishing experience. And for those who don’t fish, well you can still enjoy a nice sunset looking at the fishermen in the bay.
Author : Stéphanie Bentz, biologiste responsable de l’éducation
Photo credits : Stéphanie Bentz
Source : Robitaille, J., M. Bérubé, A. Gosselin, M. Baril, J. Beauchamp, J. Boucher, S. Dionne, M. Legault, Y. Mailhot, B. Ouellet, P. Sirois, S. Tremblay, G. Trencia, G. Verreault et D. Villeneuve. 2011. Programme de rétablissement du bar rayé (Morone saxatilis), population de l'estuaire du Saint-Laurent, Canada. Série des programmes de rétablissement publiés en vertu de la Loi sur les espèces en péril. Ottawa : Pêches et Océans Canada. xi + 52 p.