News from the DNR Office of Communications

2009 Young-Of-The-Year Striped Bass Survey Shows Slightly Below Average Numbers

Queen Anne, Md. (October 19, 2009) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that 2009 Young-of-the-Year Striped Bass Survey was a 7.9 catch per haul this year, slightly below the long term average of 11.7. DNR has used the same techniques for the survey for the past 50 years to show the yearly spawning success for Rockfish.

“These numbers may be slightly below the average, but it’s well within the normal range of expectations,” said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell. “The 2001 super year class, followed by a robust year class in 2003, should project for a healthy, sustainable population.”

DNR samples from the same 22 locations every year. Biologists use a large net to sweep the area, counting all the fish the net picks up. During this year’s survey, biologists identified and counted more than 35,000 fish of 49 species, including 1,039 young-of-year striped bass.

DNR biologists say it’s normal to see both spikes and dips in the yearly average, because striped bass reproduction hinges on many environmental factors. This year’s index is double the value of last year, and along with other large year classes, such as the record setting 1996, 2001 and 2003 will contributing to strengthen the population.

DNR has monitored the reproductive success of striped bass and other species in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay annually since 1954. Twenty-two survey sites are located in the four major spawning systems: Choptank, Potomac, and Nanticoke rivers, and the Upper Bay. Biologists visit each site monthly from July through September, collecting fish samples with two sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine. The index is calculated as the average catch of young-of-year fish per sample. For more information, go to

   October 19, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at