Striped bass sur­vey shows healthy re­pro­duc­tion in bay

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum -

The Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources an­nounced re­sults of its an­nual young-of-year striped bass sur­vey in Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, which doc­u­mented healthy re­pro­duc­tion of the state fish. The 2018 young-of-year in­dex is 14.8, higher than the 65-year av­er­age of 11.8, ac­cord­ing to a DNR re­lease.

Known lo­cally as rock­fish, striped bass spawn in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and its trib­u­taries each spring. The juvenile striped bass sur­vey is con­ducted an­nu­ally to mea­sure spawn­ing suc­cess and help pre­dict fu­ture abun­dance. The in­dex rep­re­sents the av­er­age num­ber of young-of-year — those hatched in the cur­rent year — striped bass cap­tured in each sam­ple.

Dur­ing this year’s sur­vey, depart­ment bi­ol­o­gists col­lected more than 36,000 fish of 55 species, in­clud­ing 1,951 young-of-year striped bass, the re­lease states. Re­sults show that white perch and Amer­i­can shad also ex­pe­ri­enced above-av­er­age spawn­ing suc­cess this spring.

“Con­sec­u­tive years of healthy re­pro­duc­tion is a great sign for the fu­ture of this iconic species,” Fish­ing and Boat­ing Ser­vices Di­rec­tor David Blazer said in the re­lease. “The sur­vey re­sults are en­cour­ag­ing and com­ple­ment our ef­forts to con­serve and pro­tect the striped bass fish­ery through­out the wa­ter­shed for the ben­e­fit of an­glers, com­mer­cial water­men and the species.”

The depart­ment has mon­i­tored the re­pro­duc­tive suc­cess of striped bass and other fish species in Mary­land’s por­tion of Ch­e­sa­peake Bay an­nu­ally since 1954, mak­ing it one of the old­est fish com­mu­nity sur­veys in the na­tion. Twenty-two sur­vey sites are lo­cated in the four ma­jor spawn­ing sys­tems: Chop­tank, Po­tomac and Nan­ti­coke rivers and Up­per Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. Bi­ol­o­gists visit each site three times dur­ing the sum­mer, col­lect­ing fish with two sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine net. The fish are eval­u­ated for age, size and other fac­tors, and then re­turned to the wa­ter, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

The Vir­ginia In­sti­tute of Marine Sci­ence con­ducts a sim­i­lar sur­vey in the south­ern por­tion of Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

MARY­LAND DEPART­MENT OF NAT­U­RAL RE­SOURCES GRAPHIC

The av­er­age catch of juvenile striped bass per haul in Mary­land from 1954 through 2018.

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