Several years of successful spawning have led to a substantial increase in the numbers of striped bass being caught in eastern Canada.
Striper numbers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence region have more than doubled in the past year to an estimated one million fish — an astounding 100-fold increase from just 20 years ago. “Something changed in 2017 that motivated striped bass to swim [farther] north during the summer months than previously known,” said Scott Douglas, a biologist with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “There has been some suggestion that it may be linked to climate change and warming waters which opened up new habitat which was previously too cold for the fish to occupy,”
Striped bass can live in fresh or salt water, and are said to be highly adaptable to environmental changes.
While the massive increase in bass numbers has resulted in an exploding sport fishery, it could spell trouble for Atlantic salmon recovery efforts. Striped bass are aggressive predators that thrive in river estuaries, where they are feared to be gorging on young salmon migrating to the sea.