Alarms Sounding Over Future of Striped Bass Fishery
The recently released 2021 juvenile striped bass population survey in the Chesapeake Bay shows that for the third straight year, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has recorded startling low numbers. This marks the 11th time since 2005 that Maryland’s Young-of-the-Year index has failed to reach the long-term average. Biologists with the Virginia Institute Marine Science report that the 2021 index is slightly below that state’s long-term average.
The Young of the Year index is a crucial indicator of future striped bass health and sustainability, and the continued downward trends paint a grim future for the future of the fishery. While the exact causes of the negative recruitment trend likely include a combination of factors including water quality, reduced forage in Chesapeake Bay and warming ocean temperatures, lack of action by fisheries managers in response to the developing crisis is compounding the situation and jeopardizing the future of the fishery.
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