Numbers of striped bass in Chesapeake Bay are declining Photo: NOAA FisheriesNumbers of striped bass in Chesapeake Bay are declining Photo: NOAA Fisheries

NOAA and its partners are using science to try to identify why the population of striped bass in Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the US is declining.

This year the spring season for the bass, also known as rockfish, is expected to start later and finish earlier – a trend that has been witnessed for a number of years. The striped bass population has been tracked since 1954 with recent figures showing that numbers have been below average in six years out of ten meaning there are fewer fish to grow into the spawning stock.

Changes to fishery practices implemented by Maryland and Virginia in 2019 will continue in 2021 to help the population rebound and NOAA has launched a number of initiatives to determine why numbers are declining and to help stocks rebound.

These include funding research into when and where striped bass migrate and studying the nursery habitats that juveniles need to thrive.

NOAA is also funding population studies looking at factors such as environmental changes, land use and human activity together with using acoustic telemetry receives to track fish. The organisation is also supporting researchers who are studying which food striped bass need to grow and survive.

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