Stock Report

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Striped Bass Tagalong
Researchers haul in one of their largest striper catches ever.

STRIPER SCIENCE: Commanding Officer Jerry Adams shows off a 48.4-pound bass caught during a tagging study.

This year, the crew of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Cooperative Winter Tagging Cruise recorded the third-largest striped bass haul in the 19 years of the research program. During the ten-day cruise in January, the team caught 4,545 stripers—one weighing in at a chubby 48.4 pounds—4,445 of which were tagged.

The tag-and-release study is conducted annually off the wintering grounds of migratory striped bass off North Carolina and Virginia. The tagged fish are used to assess annual mortality and survival of the Atlantic coast stock as well as provide data on migratory routes, growth rates and winter habitat use. In 19 years, scientists involved with the program have tagged and released 42,044 striped bass.

Stripers don't get all the attention though. In the 302 hauls made from the Oregon II, a National Marine Fisheries Service research vessel, the crew measured and released 724 summer flounder and tagged and released 24 Atlantic sturgeon (a candidate species for the Endangered Species Act). For more information, visit www.fws.gov/northeast/marylandfisheries/cruise.htm.