The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced results of this year’s juvenile striped bass survey, which tracks the reproductive success of the iconic fish in the Chesapeake Bay. The 2022 young-of-year index is 3.6, which is slightly higher than last year’s result, but remains below the long-term average of 11.3.
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science conducts a similar survey in the southern portion of Chesapeake Bay. The VIMS Juvenile Striped Bass Seine Survey recorded a mean value of 7.95 fish per seine haul in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay. The 2022 value is similar to the historic average of 7.77 fish per seine haul and represents the 10th consecutive year of average or above-average recruitment in Virginia waters. According to a press release from VIMS, the indices observed in recent years suggest that abundance of juvenile striped bass in Virginia has been relatively stable.
The Atlantic coastal striped bass population has decreased in size, but is still capable of strong reproduction with the right environmental conditions. Variable spawning success is a well-known characteristic of the species. Biologists continue to examine factors that might limit spawning success.
Maryland DNR biologists captured more than 40,000 fish of 58 different species during the 3-month survey. They noted an increased abundance of spot, a popular species used for food and bait. Spot abundance was the highest observed in over a decade.
Atlantic Coast states enacted responsible conservation measures in recent years to reduce harvest and protect striped bass during the spawning season.