Recently, the American Fisheries Society (AFS) had their annual meeting. This year’s conference was held in Baltimore, MD, home of the garbage eating trash wheels, cleaning up Baltimore’s waterways. The AFS reached out to me and the #SundayFishSketch and asked if our artists would sketch and call attention to fishes of the Chesapeake or mid-Atlantic as the Sunday theme tied to the conference. I jumped on the chance to support the AFS and spread information about some of the fishes of the area. As always, the artists of #SundayFishSketch did not disappoint. Keep reading as I highlight various fishes of the Chesapeake, including art pieces, fisheries facts, and additional information.
One popular species of fish that can be found near and around Baltimore is the Cownose Ray (Rhinoptera bonasus).
These fish are a species of stingray, cartilaginous fish related to sharks and skates, with a toxic barb on their tails. They feed on bivalves and other invertebrates, using their strong jaws and crushing teeth to break through hard clam and oyster shells.
Cownose rays aren’t year-long residents of the Bay, they are well-known migrators that travel to places like the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil. There is little-to-no desire for humans to harvest them for fisheries, but their large schools and large pectoral fins make them a delight to watch.
The Striped bass (Morone saxatilis), a well known fish of the fisheries world, was another favorite of the #SundayFishSketch artists.
Striped bass are native to the Atlantic coastline. Normally anadromous, they have been introduced throughout many of the freshwater drainages in North America. Although individuals that are landlocked in freshwater systems have trouble reproducing, there are fisheries management efforts across the country that keep populations thriving for anglers, with millions of fish being caught on a yearly basis.
Striped bass have a mild flavor and white flesh and can be used in a variety of dishes, from roasted to deep-fried.
Similar to the Striped bass, the Lookdown (Selene vomer), another artist favorite, is found along the Atlantic coast of North America.
Mainly a marine/brackish fish, the Lookdown isn’t a popular food-fish but instead is a desirable large aquarium fish. This silvery fish is laterally compressed, with an extremely low mouth. It’s interesting shape and silvery sheen is what makes it wanted in aquariums around the world.
The Black Sea bass (Centropristis striata) also made an appearance for the American Fisheries Society Chesapeake/mid-Atlantic theme.
This attractive fish hangs out over rocky substrates feeding on various invertebrates including crabs, shrimps, and bivalves. Like a variety of fish species, these fish begin life as females and change to males as they age.
Black Sea bass are a popular fish for anglers and has white meat with a light flavor.
The last fish species I am going to highlight today is the Cobia (Rachycentron canadum).
A unique looking fish, the Cobia is a monotypic species in its family, meaning it has no close relatives within its genus or family. The Cobia does share a common ancestor with remoras, which it bears a similar resemblance to.
Similar to the Cownose ray, Cobia migrate to the Gulf of Mexico in the winter. They are known to have a wonderful taste and are being cultured for food around the world.
As always, everyone is welcome to join in the #SundayFishSketch on twitter. Although not required, look for the weekly #FishyTheme posted on Fridays. Be sure to check out my previous post on how to draw a fish if you are hesitant on how to start!
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The FishSketches columns are at the top of the list for my favorites. As “one generation removed” from fisheries experts, I welcome every opportunity to learn! The Cownose ray was my new knowledge from this column.