top of page

Atlantic Croaker

The Atlantic croaker is known as the hardhead, due to its bony head, and is a popular game fish and food source.

Atlantic Croaker

The Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) is a species of marine fish found along the Atlantic coast of North America, from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico. It is also known as the hardhead, due to its bony head, and is a popular game fish and food source.


The Atlantic croaker has a deep, compressed body and a large, rounded head with a bony ridge on top. It has a silver-gray color on its back and sides, with a white underside. The Atlantic croaker has a single dorsal fin and a forked tail. It has a row of sharp teeth in its lower jaw, which it uses to crush   the shells of its prey.


The Atlantic croaker is found in shallow, coastal waters, including estuaries, bays, and lagoons. They prefer sandy or muddy bottoms and are often found in schools. The Atlantic croaker is known to move between fresh and saltwater habitats, making it an important species for both commercial and recreational fishermen.

Fishing and Seasonality

The Atlantic croaker is a popular game fish and is often caught using a variety of techniques, including bottom fishing and casting. It is commonly caught using bait, such as squid or shrimp, and is known to be attracted to artificial lures as well. The peak season for Atlantic croaker fishing is   from late spring to early fall, although they can be caught year-round in some regions. In the United States, the Atlantic croaker is also commercially fished, with many fishermen using gillnets or trawls to catch the fish.


The Atlantic croaker is a popular seafood choice, valued for its delicate, white flesh and mild flavor. It is a versatile fish that can be cooked in a variety of ways, including baking, broiling, and frying. Its meat is often compared   to that of flounder or sole and is a popular choice for seafood dishes such   as fish tacos and fish and chips.


The Atlantic croaker is considered to be a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), due to its stable population and widespread distribution. However, there are ongoing concerns about overfishing and habitat loss, especially in areas with high commercial fishing pressure. In response, many fisheries management plans have been   implemented to help ensure the sustainability of Atlantic croaker populations, including size and bag limits, gear restrictions, and seasonal closures. Additionally, there are ongoing efforts to develop sustainable aquaculture practices for Atlantic croaker and other fish species, as a way to reduce pressure on wild populations. Conservation groups are also working to protect the habitats of Atlantic croaker and other marine species, through initiatives such as marine protected areas and habitat restoration projects.

bottom of page