Poor Spawn is Bad News for Striper Stock

Chesapeake Bay 2021 Striped Bass Reproduction Below Average for Third Consecutive Year

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has shared bad news for the striped bass stock. This year’s juvenile striped bass survey, which tracks the reproductive success of the iconic fish in the Chesapeake Bay, resulted in a 2021 young-of-year index of 3.2 which is well below the long-term average of 11.4.

While variable spawning success is a well-known characteristic of the species,  consecutive below average indices are a concern. The 2019 and 2020 numbers were 3.37 and 2.48, respectively.

Graph of comparative historic juveniles striped bass indices.

According to the most recent stock assessment, the coastal striped bass population has decreased in size but is still capable of strong reproduction with the right environmental conditions. Biologists continue to examine factors that might limit spawning success.

Atlantic Coast states enacted measures in recent years to reduce harvest and protect striped bass during spawning season. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Striped Bass Management Board is meeting next Wednesday to discuss additional measures to enhance the striped bass population. The virtual meeting (webinar) is open to the public.

Other noteworthy observations of the survey were increased numbers of Atlantic menhaden in the Choptank River and healthy reproduction of American shad in the Potomac River. The survey also documented reproduction of invasive blue catfish in the upper Chesapeake Bay for the first time.

Twenty-two survey sites are located in four major spawning areas: the Choptank, Nanticoke, and Potomac rivers, and the Upper Chesapeake Bay. Biologists visit each site three times per summer, collecting fish with two sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine net. The index represents the average number of recently hatched striped bass, commonly called rockfish, captured in each sample.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science conducts a similar survey in the southern portion of Chesapeake Bay.

22 on “Poor Spawn is Bad News for Striper Stock

  1. Bubba

    Another tale of the “fish have to be exactly where they ought to be” scenario….What if the baby bass were a little more east, west, north, etc….People think these baby bass have to be in the exact same areas everytime….Idk

  2. APEX

    Close commercial, close Cape Cod Canal, ban treble hooks and bait, catch and release only. Give em a chance to rebuild.

      1. Matty Ice

        Exactly. Humans have repeatedly proved we cannot manage fisheries. Just make it a game fish already. It’s not a sustenance fish.

    1. Vince

      I fought a few 40 pounders this summer only to get spooled by seals. Are we not factoring seals in the mortality rate?

    2. Nick

      I’d say stop fishing for Stripers altogether for 1-3 years just like sturgeon. Stripers aren’t the only fish that exist.

  3. Logic 1

    And yet MA continues good allow commercial hook and line with the target bass being the large females. Stupid, stupid, stupid, greedy and short sighted.

  4. Fishy Joe

    Good thing we let those Mass-holes cull more breeders this year…

    1. Vince

      How about allowing Maryland to use gillnets to land those breeders?

  5. peter okeefe

    This is truly sad..not because of the report itself but because I for one have zero confidence in ANYTHING reported by agencies these days…after all IF they were to fix the problem where would these folks find employment? is it an incentive to fix this??

  6. peter okeefe

    why not hire a for profit agency who will continue working no matter what to study this? After all Govt agencies NEVER reduce budgets and declare success.

  7. KD

    We should be fishing the crap out the Blue Catfish in the Bay and making cat and dog food out of it.

  8. Fishman

    SEALS SEALS SEALS.
    Do the math “it is widely known that seals eat between 6%-8% of their body weight in fish per day. Which doesn’t seem like all that much. Now let’s scale it a bit. How much fish will 10,000 seals eat in a day? Well, if those 10,000 seals weigh 500 pounds each, they would consume 350,000 lbs. of fish per day or 2.45 million pounds of fish per week.”

  9. Steve Izzo

    Hundreds of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are spending their summers in Chesapeake Bay waters. They are definitely having an impact on the population.

  10. Roy A Barlow

    I watch stages like maryland and the like with rivers where people have culled 10, 20,amd 30 stripers 18 inches or less. But commercial is the problem? Please.. i have seen people without revard to law post pi s of stripers way over slot. People taking multiple female cows home. The cape cod canal is part of the lroblem. You can have 100’s of people fishing. In my 17 yrs of fishing the ditch. Not evsryone takes more than theh should but there are many who do. Fishing sbould be banned from the canal. The EPO ARE NOT AROUND ENOUGH TO ENFORCE THE ENTIRE. CANAL EVERY DAY. SO THIMK ABOUT THIS. IF YOU HAVE 200 PEOPLE CATCH 1 STRIPER EVERY DAY FOR 3 DAYS FHAT IS 600 STRIPERS. BOATS ONLY GET 15. NOT EVERYONE GETS 15 STRIPERS. MANY GET LESS IT WOHLD TAKE 40 BOATS TO EQUAL THE SAME NUMBER OF STRIPERS TAKEN IN THE CANAL IN 3 DAYS TO ONE ON A BOAT. IT IS CLEARY THE RECREATIONAL FISHERMAN

  11. Marky mark

    How about people like Bad News
    His mother should have culled him

  12. Nick L.

    I see more out of state plates on the canal than Mass. People from the lower Atlantic states follow the migration. Cull the fishermen.

    1. ScottyJ

      YES! CULL THE FISHERMAN! There were more out of state commercial boats fishing the north shore of Mass. this year than there were local fisherman. STOP GIVING OUT OF STATERS PERMITS! LET THEM FISH THERE OWN WATERS!

  13. Orenthal James

    Fishing licenses should be $15,000 a piece. I bet a lot of people would go back to work. I just boosted the US economy, labor market, and saved the striper population. Now on to the strippers…

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