The weakfish (Cynoscion regalis) Is The State Fish Of Delaware. The weakfish, (Cynoscion regalis,) was accepted as the official state fish of Delaware in 1981. It Adopted for the recognition of sport fishing’s overall recreational and economic contributions to the state of Delaware and of the specific values of the weakfish, Cynoscion genus, as a game and food fish.
The Delaware State Fish weakfish (Cynoscion regalis) is a marine sport fish but is usually less than 60 cm (2 feet) long. Much larger specimens have been caught on occasion. The origin of its name is based on the weakness of the mouth muscles, which are easily torn by fishhooks. State Fish Of Delaware Weakfish are also caught commercially along with with the Middle Atlantic coastal states and are considered to be the most economically important species in the croaker family.
The weakfish’s sleek body grows to 12 to 18 inches on average but can grow to reach three feet in length and weigh anywhere from 6 to 18 pounds. The weakfish has a silvery-white belly and a dark, olive-green back with iridescent blue, copper or green on its sides.
Delaware State Fish Weakfish prey upon small schooling fish such as anchovies and menhaden, and will also eat crabs, shrimp, mollusks and large zooplankton. Once a weakfish sees its prey, it will slowly move toward it, then quickly lunge at it with open jaws. Delaware State Fish Weakfish are the top carnivore in the Bay’s eelgrass beds.
Other predatory fish (such as bluefish and striped bass), sharks (such as dusky sharks) and sea lampreys prey on weakfish.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Spawning occurs April through August near the shores of the Bay’s mouth. Females produce more eggs as they get larger. Larvae spend the late summer drifting through the lower Bay, eventually reaching their nursery areas in low-salinity rivers. Once they have grown to about 4.7 inches long, young begin to swim toward saltier waters, leaving the Bay by early winter. State Fish Of Delaware reach maturity at 1 to 2 years old and can live for 17 years, but most do not live past 9 to 12 years.
Did You Know?
- The name “weakfish” comes from the fish’s fragile mouth, which tears easily when hooked by anglers.
- The 19-pound Chesapeake Bay record weakfish was caught in 1983 near the Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
- The Chesapeake Bay is an important spawning area for weakfish