WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Go Fish: Numbers Of Young Striped Bass Plummet In Bay

Play associated audio
Young striped bass have grown scarce, but their population is expected to recover.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40626436@N00/2902749931/
Young striped bass have grown scarce, but their population is expected to recover.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says the number of young striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay has hit a record low. Even so, scientists say fishermen and diners need not worry, for now at least.

Since 1954, scientists like Erik Durell have been swiping nets through the Chesapeake Bay and counting baby Rockfish. On average, he'll get about 12 tiny fish per sample. This year, the average is less than one — 0.9, in fact.

"It's been a very poor year for striped bass reproduction," says Durell.

The reason is that it's also been a very dry year.  Striped Bass or, as rockfish as diners might know them, swim in from the ocean and far upstream to spawn, kind of like salmon. The trouble is, if the flow in rivers and creeks is too slow because of a lack of rain, the eggs don't get carried down to where they need to go. Instead, they fall to the bottom and die in the mud.

There is good news, though.

"These fish are long lived and return to spawn again and again, and that sort of overcomes the unfortunate years when things don't work out," says Durell.

Last year for example, the number of young was up almost 300 percent. Durell says it should even out as long as people don't get in the way.

NPR

Jack Davis, Cartoonist Who Helped Found 'Mad' Magazine, Dies

Money from a job illustrating a Coca-Cola training manual became a springboard for Jack Davis to move from Georgia to New York.
NPR

Cookie Dough Blues: How E. Coli Is Sneaking Into Our Forbidden Snack

Most people know not to eat raw cookie dough. But now it's serious: 46 people have now been sickened with E. coli-tainted flour. Here's how contamination might be occurring.
NPR

At The Democratic Convention, Choreographing A Sea Of Signs

Watch even a few minutes and you're bound to see some synchronized sign-holding — brightly colored placards with slogans like "Stronger Together" waving in the crowd.
NPR

Writing Data Onto Single Atoms, Scientists Store The Longest Text Yet

With atomic memory technology, little patterns of atoms can be arranged to represent English characters, fitting the content of more than a billion books onto the surface of a stamp.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.