Seabass, Black – U.S. Atlantic, Handline
Black Sea Bass are found along the U.S. East Coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Cape Canaveral, Florida, and in the Gulf of Mexico. They prefer structural habitats such as shipwrecks, artificial reefs, and oyster or mussel beds. They begin life as females and become males by the time they are five years old.
There are two populations of Black Sea Bass in the U.S. Atlantic: Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic, with the dividing line at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Currently, both populations are healthy and fishing mortality rates are sustainable. The U.S. Atlantic Black Sea Bass fisheries are well managed.
In the Mid-Atlantic handline fishery, Black Sea Bass account for the majority of the catch, and bycatch is very low. In the South Atlantic handline fishery, some other species are caught, including vermilion snapper, red porgy, and small amounts of groupers. However, this fishery likely has a low impact on these species. Handline fisheries have little to no impact on bottom habitats.