Striped bass reproduction in Maryland waters improved this year, but remained well below average, state officials announced.
The Department of Natural Resources said that its 2013 striped-bass juvenile index, a measure of spawning success in the Chesapeake Bay, is 5.8. That's much better than last year's tally of 0.9, but only about half the 60-year average of 11.7.
“Several years of average reproduction mixed with large and small year-classes are typical for Striped Bass,” DNR Fisheries Director Tom O’Connell said in the press release announcing the results. “For example, as recently as 2011, we saw the fourth-highest spawning success in the survey’s history.”
Striped Bass - also known as rockfish in Maryland, where they're the state fish - spawn in the spring, with females each producing millions of eggs. The survival of their eggs and larvae depends largely on weather-related conditions at the time, such as water temperature, salinity and flow rates.