Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary C. Ronald Franks announced today that the 2005 striped bass (rockfish) juvenile index, a measure of striped bass spawning success in Chesapeake Bay, is 17.8, well above the 52-year average of 12.0.
During this years survey, DNR biologists collected 2,348 young-of-year (YOY) striped bass. The Choptank River index was the highest documented since the dominant year-class of 2001. Striped bass reproduction in the Upper Bay and Potomac River was slightly above average, but reproduction in the Nanticoke River well below average.
The survey documents spawning success of other species as well. American shad reproduction was very high for the sixth consecutive year, particularly in the Potomac River. White perch reproduced at average levels throughout Marylands portion of the Bay. Juvenile spot were very abundant as far north as the Susquehanna Flats. Biologists documented a modest increase in the abundance of juvenile Atlantic menhaden, but spawning success is still well below levels seen in the 1970s.
DNR biologists have monitored the reproductive success of striped bass and other species in Marylands portion of the Chesapeake Bay annually since 1954. Twenty-two survey sites are located in the four major spawning systems: Choptank, Potomac, and Nanticoke rivers, and the Upper Bay. Biologists visit each site monthly from July through September, collecting fish samples with two sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine. The index is calculated as the average catch of YOY fish per sample. To see the 2005 YOY abundance data and graphs for striped bass, visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/juvindex/amweb.xls.