Bay's Striped Bass Population Grows

The results are in from Maryland’s 2017 striped bass survey, and the news is good!The Maryland Department of Natural Resources 2017 young-of-year striped bass survey in the Chesapeake Bay shows the fish known in these parts as “rockfish” is reproducing in strong numbers. The survey’s index is above average, at 13.2, compared to the 64-year average of 11.7.

When striped bass spawn in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries each spring, biologists collect and count a sample of fish that are less than one year old, to see how productive the spawning has been, and to help predict future abundance.

This year, scientists collected 1,741 young rockfish, with the most found in the upper Bay.

“Strong reproduction in three of the past seven years is an encouraging sign for the coastal population and future fishing opportunities,” Fishing and Boating Services Director Dave Blazer said.

The survey also found high white perch reproduction in the upper Bay and Nanticoke River, and American shad reproduction was also above average, thanks to success in the Potomac River.

The Maryland DNR has been monitoring the reproductive success of rockfish and other species in Maryland’s portion of the Bay since 1954, making it one of the oldest biological surveys. Biologists visit 22 survey sites in the Choptank, Potomac and Nanticoke Rivers and the upper Bay.

-Meg Walburn Viviano