The Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources today released the results of annual surveys of the juvenile striped bass population in the Chesapeake Bay. For the third consecutive year, the Maryland numbers are below average, while the Virginia numbers are about average.
This news comes as East Coast states have begun initiatives to increase the striped bass population through efforts organized by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. This comes in response to studies showing the population well below target numbers, confirming suspicions of many anglers who have observed that striped bass numbers are down significantly.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist Chris Moore issued the following statement:
“The low recruitment of young-of-the-year striped bass in parts of the Chesapeake Bay, a crucial nursery area for 70 percent of striped bass on the East Coast, continues the troubling news about this iconic fish. With the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting next week, this in another reminder of the need for decisive action to rebuild the striped bass population in the Bay and up and down the East Coast.
“Rebuilding striped bass numbers is going to take all of us working together, from coastal states carefully managing the fishery to anglers ensuring that released fish survive. Despite encouraging news about the reduction in harvest last year, we still have much to do in order to restore the striped bass population.”
CBF’s Maryland Senior Fisheries Scientist Allison Colden issued this statement in response to the declining Maryland numbers:
“With the third year in a row of below average striped bass recruitment, we cannot continue to ignore this troubling trend. Progress must be made to reduce mortality, protect spawning striped bass, and safeguard the above average 2015 cohort of fish that will soon enter the fishery. We also must double-down on our efforts to prevent pollutants from reaching the Chesapeake Bay, which exacerbate dead zones that contribute to greater striped bass mortality.”
# # #