The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently announced that the 2014 juvenile striped bass index is 11.0, slightly below the 61-year average of 11.7.
Striped bass, also called rockfish, spawn in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries each spring. The survival of striped bass eggs and larvae is largely influenced by environmental factors such as water temperature, salinity and flow rates The annual juvenile index varies with occasional strong year classes, as observed in 2011, intermixed with average and below average indices.
DNR biologists survey 22 sites in the four major spawning systems – the Choptank, Nanticoke, and Potomac rivers, and the Upper Bay. This year, they counted more than 60,000 fish of 56 different species, including 1,454 striped bass.
The crews visit each survey site three times during the summer, collecting fish samples with two sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine. To calculate the indices, biologists count and then average the juvenile fish caught in the samples.
State fisheries biologists have conducted the survey every year since 1954 to track reproductive success of striped bass and other species. American shad and white perch also had successful spawning seasons.
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Juvenile Striped Bass Survey returned similar results to Maryland this year.
source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources