The black sea bass, Centropristis striata, is a member of the Serranidae family.
Ranging from Maine to Florida, these fish migrate to coastal waters towards the north in spring, where fishermen target them. They are typically two to three pounds, but may grow up to two feet in length and reach nine pounds.
They prefer a bottom with some structure and will feed on a variety of shellfish species.
Interestingly, they are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they can change sex. Older females will become more colourful, breeding males.
I am happy to report this fishery is well-managed and sustainable.
Tom Byrnes is the owner/operator of Cayman Marine Lab. He acquired his Coast Guard Captain’s Licence when he was a teenager and worked as a commercial fisherman in his youth. He got his first diving certificate in 1974 with the YMCA. He has worked in the local dive industry for more than 35 years and has a PhD in marine biology.