With fewer and fewer bunker seen in the waters of the Bay, scientists were alarmed by some significant warning signs caused by their absence. Historically, menhaden made up 77 percent of the diet of striped bass in the Bay. By 2000, that number had shrunk to 21 percent. In addition, scientists feared that this lack of food would make stripers more susceptible to mycobacteriosis, a disease that affects vital organs and causes unsightly lesions on the skin of infected fish. Even worse, some studies showed that up to 70 percent of Bay stripers are infected. And that's just stripers. As the menhaden go, so goes the Bay. You'd be hard pressed to find too many fish that don't rely on them as a food source.