Anglers for Clean Water

Rockfish  photo by Yuri HutaPhoto courtesy Yuri Huta

Good News About Rockfish, with A Caution

October 13, 2015
Capt. John Page Williams, Senior Naturalist
Chesapeake Bay Foundation


They've tallied up several hundred summertime pulls of 100-foot fine-mesh "minnow" seines from rivers all over the Chesapeake, and the news is good: Maryland's striped bass Young-of-the-Year Index is the eighth highest on record, and Virginia's is slightly stronger than the long-term average. Thanks in part to all that harsh weather last winter and spring, we have a nice crop of puppy rockfish coming along. Note good news about several other valuable species as well. Visit these links for the details:


But please also note the comment below from Bill Goldsborough, CBF's veteran Fisheries Program Director (and Maryland Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commissioner):

"FYI. Very good news, obviously, especially with the frustration felt by many anglers over the downward trajectory of the rockfish stock biomass in the past several years. Chesapeake rockfish spawning provides about 75 percent of the stripers caught coastwide. Maryland's index is particularly tightly correlated to subsequent catches along the coast. These 'young-of-the-year' fish won't contribute to the Bay fishery for a few years, but this strong crop of young fish should provide relief for the angst of New England anglers who have suffered from fewer fish reaching their waters in recent years.

"One key factor for the future will be how well these 2015 fish and the larger 2011 fish (now 18-21-inches long) do as they mature here in the Bay. Scientists have documented lower survival rates during the four to six years they stay in these waters year-round before joining the seasonal coastal migration. They consider the main factors in this problem to be water quality stress (low dissolved oxygen plus high water temperatures) and reduced forage (especially young menhaden), because those conditions encourage Mycobacteriosis disease."

The antidote to water quality stress is the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. Please stay tuned for ways that you as anglers can help to support the Blueprint through advocacy and hands-on restoration projects. At the same time, keep informed on management of menhaden and other forage fish. You'll have opportunities to weigh in there as well.
Got questions? Feel free to e-mail or call me, or 443-482-2041. Thanks for your interest in Anglers for Clean Water!


Questions that require an answer are marked with  *
* Please take a moment to provide the following information so that we may keep you updated on issues and events near you.
 E-Mail Address
 First Name
 Last Name
 Zip Code
* Timestamp

You will begin to receive Bay updates from CBF soon.

In the meantime, join the Bay-friendly conversation on Facebook and Twitter!


1-888-SAVEBAY / 1-888-728-3229

BBB Accredited Charity
GuideStar Exchange Gold Participant Seal

Bids & ProposalsPrivacy Policy

© 2017 Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
All Rights Reserved.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is a nonprofit,
tax-exempt charitable organization under
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.