Striped bass face growing challenges from habitat loss, low oxygen levels, and climate change as they struggle to recover from a significant decline on the East Coast, fisheries experts said this week at the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team fall meeting.
The availability of suitable habitat for striped bass in Chesapeake Bay is shrinking, driven primarily by higher Bay water temperatures and low oxygen levels due to climate change. Despite these substantial challenges to striped bass, a presentation from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources noted that nutrient pollution reductions made to date in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have prevented more severe degradation of striped bass habitat than would have happened without those actions.
This conclusion underscores that continued work to reduce nutrient pollution to the Bay is critical for the health of the striped bass population in Chesapeake Bay. Other experts outlined climate-induced shifts in the Chesapeake Bay fish community, with significant shifts occurring in the late 2000s.
CBF Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist Chris Moore issued the following statement.
“Striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay face substantial threats from warmer waters and lower dissolved oxygen levels due to climate change. In the face of these challenges, it is more important than ever that state and federal partners accelerate efforts to reduce pollution to the Bay to help mitigate these impacts. Reducing pollution, improving habitat, and continuing careful management of the striped bass fishery are key to ensuring recovery of this iconic game fish.”