Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Good Year for Striped Bass in Chesapeake Bay

2011 Young of the Year Striped Bass Survey Shows Fourth Highest Reproduction On Record
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that the 2011 Young of the Year (YOY) Striped Bass Survey is 34.6, well above the long-term average of 11.9, and exceedingly higher than 2010’s results of 5.9. This is the fourth highest measure of striped bass spawning success in the Chesapeake Bay in the survey’s 58-year history.

“This reinforces our understanding that when conditions are right, the striped bass population is capable of producing robust year classes of young rockfish,” said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell.

The survey also documented an increase in the abundance of juvenile blueback herring- a population that had previously decreased dramatically in the Chesapeake Bay and along the coast. White perch, another important food and sportfish species, saw near record reproduction.

During this year’s survey, DNR biologists counted more than 59,000 fish of 47 different species while collecting 4,565 YOY striped bass. Variation in annual spawning success is normal because striped bass reproduction is influenced by many factors including water temperature, winter snowfall, spring flow rates, and prevailing weather conditions. Typically, several years of average reproduction are intermixed with the occasional large and small year-classes. The strong 2011 year-class shows that the spawning stock is capable of producing a large year-class when conditions are favorable.
Lousy weather years (especially in spring) tend to make for good years for the YOY index.  It's good to see it.   Looks like is was a good year for most of the anadromous fish.

Oh, and a video on how the survey is carried out below the jump.

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