Stripers in Good Health?

Surveys report increases in striped bass stocks.

· The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced last fall that the 2005 striped bass juvenile index, the measure of striped bass spawning success in Chesapeake Bay, was 17.8, well above the 52-year average of 12.0. For more information and to review 2005 young-of-year abundance data, visit www.drn.state.md.us.

· According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), data presented to the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board indicates that striped bass are not being overfished, as the 2004 mortality rate was below the threshold of 0.41. The stock remains at 65.3 million pounds, ten percent higher than the average for the last five years. For information, visit www.asmfc.org.

Despite the reports of healthy stocks, anglers continue to notice a drop in the number of older, larger striped bass. A shortage of these bigger fish poses a serious threat to the ability of the species to sustain healthy stocks in the future.