News from the DNR Office of Communications

2010 Young Of The Year Striped Bass Survey Shows Below Average Reproduction

Atlantic Coast Striped Bass Population Remains Healthy

Annapolis, Md. (October 18, 2010) —   The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that the 2010 Young of the Year Striped Bass Survey is 5.6, below the long-term average of 11.6. While this is the third consecutive year of below average striped bass production in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay, the population remains above the management action trigger set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Likewise, the number of adults in the Atlantic coast population and levels of fishing are well within healthy limits as set by the ASMFC management framework.

DNR biologists point out that variation in annual spawning success is normal because striped bass reproduction is influenced by many factors including water temperature, winter snowfall, spring flow rates, and prevailing weather conditions.

”We are carefully monitoring the juvenile striped bass situation,” said Thomas O’Connell, Director of DNR’s Fisheries Service. “As stewards of the primary nursery area for Atlantic striped bass, it is our responsibility to protect this essential habitat and work with our state and federal partners along the Atlantic coast to ensure that spawning striped bass are adequately protected, and ASMFC management benchmarks continue to be achieved.”

DNR biologists have used the same techniques to monitor the reproductive success of striped bass and other species in Maryland’s portion of Chesapeake Bay annually since 1954. Twenty-two survey sites are located in the four major spawning systems: Choptank, Potomac, and Nanticoke rivers, and the Upper Bay. Biologists visit each site monthly from July through September, collecting fish samples with two sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine.

During this year’s survey, biologists identified more than 37,000 fish of 50 different species, including 737 young-of-year striped bass. Other findings of note were an increase in the number of juvenile spot. This important forage species and popular target for recreational anglers is at the highest level since 2005. White perch reproduction was also above average in the upper regions of the Bay. The juvenile indices are calculated as the average catch of young of the year fish per sample. For more information, go to www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/juvindex/index.html.


   October 18, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov