Hybrid striped bass

Hybrid striped bass

name = Hybrid striped bass

image_width = 250px
image_caption = hybrid striped bass
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Actinopterygii
ordo = Perciformes
familia = Moronidae
genus = "Morone"
species = "M. chrysops x M. saxatilis"
binomial = "M. chrysops x M. saxatilis"
binomial_authority =
A hybrid striped bass or a wiper is a hybrid between the striped bass ("Morone saxatilis") and the white bass ("M. chrysops"). It can be distinguished from the striped bass by broken rather than solid horizontal stripes on the body. Wipers are considered better suited for culture in ponds than either parent species because they are more resilient to extremes of temperature and to low dissolved oxygen.

Wipers became part of aquaculture in the United States in the late 1980s. Most producers purchase the fish young (as fry or fingerlings) and raise them in freshwater ponds. Currently about 10 million pounds (4.5 million kg) are produced annually in the United States. Wipers are used both as a gamefish and a food fish.

Most wipers are produced by fertilizing eggs from white bass with sperm from striped bass; the resulting fish are also called "sunshine bass" or "cherokee bass".




Bishop of fish: Biologist noted for hybrid success By Bob Hodge (Contact)Sunday, September 14, 2008

Special to the News Sentinel

Dave Bishop, a TWRA biologist, displays a stringer of fish he caught on Norris Lake in 1958. Mr Bishop died last week.

There aren't many people who can lay claim to inventing a fishery. Even fewer can say they invented a fish.

Dave Bishop did both.

Thanks to Bishop, Tennessee enjoys one of the best freshwater striped bass fisheries in the U.S. And thanks to Bishop, that fishery is supplemented by striper/white bass hybrids that he and biologists from South Carolina first spawned in the spring of 1965.

In April of '65 Bishop brought 40,000 of the striped bass/white bass fry from Moncks Corner in South Carolina to the Frog Pond section of Cherokee Lake. The tiny fish were in styrofoam boxes in the back of his station wagon and he had no idea how many, if any, of the fish would survive after they were released.

Heck, Bishop didn't even know if they would live long enough to get from South Carolina to East Tennessee.

Not only did they survive, they thrived.

By November of that year many of the quarter-inch fish he had released were already 7 inches long. Some were 10 inches: Twice as long as the striped bass fry he released at the same time.

"Even if the hybrids only get up to eight or 10 pounds, they'll still be a mighty nice fish," Bishop told then News Sentinel outdoors writer Lowell Branham in the spring of 1966.

In 1998 the state record hybrid - also known as Cherokee bass because of where they were first stocked - was caught from Stones River and weighed 23 pounds, 3 ounces.

Bishop, 74, died at his home in Talbot on Tuesday after a short illness. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Chief of Fisheries Bill Reeves said he left a legacy not many fisheries biologists can match.

"He had the forward thinking to create a sport fishery different than anything that existed previously," Reeves said. "When the opportunity arose he was ready to grab the golden ring."

Bishop had made a name for himself in the outdoors before he made the outdoors a profession.

After graduating from Knoxville High and serving in the Navy, he was an engineering student at the University of Tennessee. One of Branham's predecessors at the News Sentinel - Chambliss Pierce - wrote several stories about Bishop while he was a student at UT.

In 1958, writing about some bass Bishop had caught on Norris Lake, Pierce guessed that Bishop would be switching from engineering "to satisfy an intense interest in nature."

Bishop switched, went to work for what was then the State Game and Fish Commission, and soon developed an interest in striped bass.

Stripers are a saltwater fish, but being anadromous they can survive in freshwater. In the early 1960s South Carolina would produce striped bass fry and other states would take them, try to grow them, then release them in reservoirs.

Much of Bishop's early work was trying to solve the puzzle of how to grow the fry large enough for them to be released. When that was solved, he put his mind to developing the white bass/striped bass hybrid.

It took him and other biologists around the South about three years, and a new fish was invented.

These days the stripers and hybrids produced at Tennessee hatcheries are sent all over the U.S., often in exchange for other species of fish that are stocked in state waters.

The downside to Bishop's work came during the 1980s when some anglers blamed stripers for harming native species of fish. The controversy came to a head on Norris Lake in the 1990s.

"He couldn't help but take that personally," Reeves said. "Dave did something that he and other people thought was a great thing, then you had these other people ready to tie him to a pole and tar and feather him."

The controversy over striped bass has, for the most part, died down. Bishop created a fishery and a fish that have withstood not only the sling and arrows of biology and politics.

"When you just consider creel surveys around the state, 10 to 12 percent of the people identify themselves as fishing for stripers or hybrids," Reeves said. "That's 10 or 12 percent that may not be fishing except for the work of Dave Bishop."

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