Black Sea Bass

A view of two black sea bass swimming among the corals.

The black sea bass is a marine grouper that can be found from the eastern Gulf of Mexico to Maine. They can be found in both inshore and offshore waters and spend most of their time close to the sea floor next to rocks, man-made reefs, jetties, piers and bridge pilings. Due to their hiding tendencies, they are sometimes referred to as a rockfish.

Black sea bass have a brown or black body color with a white stripe over black on their dorsal fin. Large males may also have blue and ebony markings in their body and females can have faint vertical bars. This fish starts life as a female, and once they reach 9 - 13 inches (two to five years of age) they become males. The black sea bass has a large mouth used to catch their prey, mostly mussels, crabs, shellfish or other small fish.  

Black sea bass are highly sought after by recreational and commercial fishermen, causing them to be overfished, so quotas have been set to help limit this. The maximum size of a black sea bass is twenty inches and ten pounds.  

Header Photo Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association