10/19/13 Spawning success increases over last year but remains below average
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that the 2013 Striped Bass juvenile index - a measure of Striped Bass spawning success in Chesapeake Bay - is 5.8, a substantial increase over last year's results of 0.9, but below the 60-year average of 11.7. The survey is conducted to track the reproductive success of Maryland's State Fish, which is historically known have extreme variables from year to year.
"Several years of average reproduction mixed with large and small year-classes are typical for Striped Bass," said DNR Fisheries Director Tom O'Connell. "For example, as recently as 2011, we saw the fourth-highest spawning success in the survey's history."
Three continuous years of poor YOY results would trigger a review of the current regulations for management of striped bass. Since Maryland's 2013 Striped Bass juvenile index did not fall below the poor recruitment line no immediate change in regulations is predicted. Three consecutive years of poor recruitment has not been experienced in Maryland since the mid-1980s due to the success of coastal management efforts.
The Commission also conducts a comprehensive assessment of the entire stock every 1-2 years to determine whether changes in management strategies are needed to ensure a healthy population and fishery. The most recent stock assessment will be reviewed by the Commission later this month.