Illustration of Black Sea Bass

Black Sea Bass

Filters

Seafood Variety

Harvest Method

Regions

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Atlantic Seabass, Black Perch, Chub, Rock Bass, Seabass, Tallywag

Centropristis striata

Method

Wild

Trap

Location

US Southern Mid-Atlantic, US Northern Mid Atlantic

Overall Rating

3.8 - 3.9 / 5

Summary

Black sea bass comprise a domestic fishery in the US and are not typically exported. Landings of black sea bass in the mid-Atlantic peaked in 1952 with 9,883 tons, before declining to only 566 tons in 1971. Since then, landings have stabilized around 1400 tons annually. Commercial landings of the southeastern stock peaked in the 1990’s and have since declined. Recreational landings of both stocks represent a significant portion of fishing mortality.

In the latest stock assessment, the northern stock was found to be healthy, although there are uncertainties regarding the data. The southern stock is currently rebuilding, although it is thought that fishing pressure is too high. The black sea bass stock is managed by the mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Management is considered to be effective, as stock levels have been maintained at a healthy level. The southern stock is moderately well-managed, and a recovery plan is in place for the rebuilding of the stock by 2016.

The use of pots and traps has minimal effect on other species as they are a selective method of fishing. Pots and traps cause moderate damage to the habitat since they are in contact with the seafloor and have the potential to damage sensitive coral.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Atlantic Seabass, Black Perch, Chub, Rock Bass, Seabass, Tallywag

Centropristis striata

Method

Farmed

Recirculating aquaculture system (RAS)

Location

Worldwide

Overall Rating

6.7 / 10

Summary

Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are similar for various farmed species. This recommendation applies to all species grown in RAS except for those where a separate species-specific RAS recommendation is available. Closed containment has recently emerged in the farming industry as an alternative to net pens in order to reduce the environmental impacts of an aquaculture system that is open to the environment.

Source of stock is domesticated broodstock for the vast majority of RAS farms. Therefore wild populations are not depleted to source the aquaculture operations. Impacts of feed use vary amongst RAS farms and the species being cultured.

The contained nature of RAS allows for close control and prevention of potential disease or parasite outbreaks. Risk of pathogens and their transfer to wild populations is low. Predator and wildlife mortalities are virtually eliminated when RAS systems are located indoors, and risk of escapes is low as the systems are not in direct contact with natural water bodies.

About 90-99% of water is typically recirculated after filtration and waste treatment. As such, little to no effluent is discharged to the environment and there is the opportunity to treat waste before discharge. The closed design of RAS and the application of biosecurity protocols reduce the risk of disease and parasites, and consequently require low use of chemicals. When chemicals are used, they cannot flow into the environment directly, and have the opportunity to be treated and sterilized before discharge. RAS farms are typically not built in sensitive habitats, and the closed system of the farms minimizes ecosystem impacts.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Atlantic Seabass, Black Perch, Chub, Rock Bass, Seabass, Tallywag

Centropristis striata

Method

Wild

Handline

Location

US Mid-Atlantic, US South Atlantic

Overall Rating

4.2 / 5

Summary

Black sea bass comprise a domestic fishery in the US and are not typically exported. Landings of black sea bass in the mid-Atlantic peaked in 1952 with 9,883 tons, before declining to only 566 tons in 1971. Since then, landings have stabilized around 1400 tons annually. Commercial landings of the southeastern stock peaked in the 1990’s and have since declined. Recreational landings of both stocks represent a significant portion of fishing mortality.

The black sea bass stock is managed by the mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Management is considered to be effective, as stock levels have been maintained at a healthy level. The southern stock is moderately well-managed, and a recovery plan is in place for the rebuilding of the stock by 2016.

Handlines are generally a selective method of fishing, and little bycatch is caught in the Mid-Atlantic fishery. Some bycatch is caught in the South-Atlantic fishery such as vermilion snapper, red porgy, and groupers. However, the quantities of the bycatch species caught are likely too low to affect their populations. Handlines have little to no impacts on the habitat. Additionally managers are working towards an ecosystem based management program.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

aka Atlantic sea bass

Centropristis striata

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

US Atlantic

Overall Rating

2.3 / 5

Summary

Black sea bass comprise a domestic fishery in the US and are not typically exported. Landings of black sea bass in the mid-Atlantic peaked in 1952 with 9,883 tons, before declining to only 566 tons in 1971. Since then, landings have stabilized around 1400 tons annually. Commercial landings of the southeastern stock peaked in the 1990’s and have since declined. Recreational landings of both stocks represent a significant portion of fishing mortality.

The black sea bass stock is managed by the mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Management is considered to be effective, as stock levels have been maintained at a healthy level. The southern stock is moderately well-managed, and a recovery plan is in place for the rebuilding of the stock by 2016.

Otter trawls are a non-selective fishing method, and other species such as Atlantic flatfish are often incidentally caught with the black sea bass, and retained. Of concern is the bycatch of endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Otter trawls are highly damaging to the habitat. Effects include sediment resuspension, destruction of corals, and other physical structures, and injury and mortality of organisms.

Learn more about harvest methods