Striped bass spawining success was high in Maryland and average in Virginia for 2015, according to surveys by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).
2015 Maryland Striped Bass Juvenile Index
The Maryland 2015 striped bass juvenile index is the eighth highest on record, according to DNR. The survey found an average of 24.2 juvenile fish per sample, approximately double the long-term average of 11.9.
The Maryland survey also documented healthy reproduction of other species. DNR fisheries biologists counted record numbers of juvenile American shad, while the white perch juvenile index was the third-highest on record. River herring reproduction was also above average.
This year, DNR collected more than 70,000 fish of 50 different species, including 3,194 young-of-year (less than one year of age) striped bass in 132 sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine at 22 sites.
DNR has monitored the reproductive success of striped bass and other species in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay every year since 1954.
The present day survey covers sites in four major spawning systems; the Choptank, Potomac, and Nanticoke rivers, and the Upper Bay.
2015 Virginia Juvenile Striped Bass Seine Survey
Preliminary results from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) Juvenile Striped Bass Seine Survey suggest an average number of young-of-the-year striped bass was produced in Virginia tributaries of Chesapeake Bay in 2015.
The survey recorded approximately 12 fish per seine haul, which is statistically equivalent to the historic average of about 9 fish per seine haul. Results of the 2015 survey mark the third consecutive year of average annual recruitment for striped bass in Virginia waters of Chesapeake Bay.
Although the 2015 year class of striped bass is considered average in terms of abundance, recruitment has been above-average or average in 12 out of the past 13 years, indicating production has been relatively consistent in Virginia nurseries.
The VIMS Juvenile Striped Bass Seine Survey currently samples 18 stations in the Rappahannock, York, and James River watersheds.
Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass
Also known as rockfish, striped bass play an important role as a top predator in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The species supports recreational and commercial fisheries in the estuary.
Chesapeake Bay striped bass populations have rebounded from historic lows in the late 1970s and early 1980s, following fishing bans enacted in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia in the mid- to late-1980s.
Striped bass from the 2015 year class could reach harvestable sizes in three to four years.
source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Virginia Institute of Marine Science