Oct 19, 2009— The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that 2009 Young-of-the-Year Striped Bass Survey was a 7.9 catch per haul this year, slightly below the long term average of 11.7. DNR has used the same techniques for the survey for the past 50 years to show the yearly spawning success for Rockfish.
“These numbers may be slightly below the average, but it’s well within the normal range of expectations,” said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell. “The 2001 super year class, followed by a robust year class in 2003, should project for a healthy, sustainable population.”
DNR samples from the same 22 locations every year. Biologists use a large net to sweep the area, counting all the fish the net picks up. During this year’s survey, biologists identified and counted more than 35,000 fish of 49 species, including 1,039 young-of-year striped bass.
DNR biologists say it’s normal to see both spikes and dips in the yearly average, because striped bass reproduction hinges on many environmental factors. This year’s index is double the value of last year, and along with other large year classes, such as the record setting 1996, 2001 and 2003 will contributing to strengthen the population.
DNR has monitored the reproductive success of striped bass and other species in Maryland’s 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 young-of-year fish per sample. For more information, go to www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/juvindex/index.html.