Black sea bass are making a comeback in North Carolina after the species was overfished a decade ago. We visit the Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City where they’re using ear bones from hundreds of black sea bass to learn which habitats along our coast best support the fishery.

The commercial fishing industry is an economic engine for the state. $369 million of economic impact was generated by commercial fishing in 2013, according to the Department of Marine Fisheries. One of the many species caught off the coast is black sea bass. You may have had it at a fancy restaurant coated in herb butter and served with a wedge of lemon. Also known as blackfish or old humpback, black sea bass grow to 24 inches and 6 pounds, and they can be found in inshore and offshore waters.

At the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, graduate student Ian Kroll is involved in research with black sea bass and what types of habitat are best suited for the fish.

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