In 2019, the program stocked 2.8 million American Shad into the Choptank River and 335,000 American Shad and 1.5 million Hickory Shad into the Patapsco River.
Restoration biologists continued the annual juvenile American Shad seine survey on the Choptank River and Patapsco River. The survey assesses American Shad stocking efficacy and serves to estimate wild origin juvenile shad abundance in the restoration target tributaries. In 2019, Choptank River collections totaled 765 juvenile American Shad after 10 weeks of sampling. Collections on the Patapsco River totaled 40 juvenile American Shad after 14 weeks of sampling.
From 2013-2017, funding from the Maryland Department of Transportation Port Administration supported a stocking project for larval and juvenile American Shad and Hickory Shad into the Patapsco River. This was a multi-year restoration effort managed by the Fish Health and Hatcheries Program. The project was complementary to ongoing restoration work conducted by the department's Fish Passage Program, the Maryland Biological Stream Survey, American Rivers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All of these groups worked together to support ecological restoration of the Patapsco River. Currently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program funds the restoration efforts on the Patapsco River. The Patapsco River restoration project will add angling opportunities for the local community by re-establishing anadromous species such as American Shad and Hickory Shad to the Patapsco River.
In 2019, restoration biologists collected, tagged and released three Atlantic Sturgeon from Marshyhope Creek, which is a tributary to the Nanticoke River. This brings the project total to 29 tagged Atlantic Sturgeon. Captured fish were marked with a T-bar tag, a passive integrated transponder and an acoustic transmitter (VEMCO), and tissue was collected for DNA analysis. The VEMCO acoustic transmitter is placed in the body cavity while the fish is under sedation. The transmitter allows the fish to be detected by any researcher using compatible detection gear anywhere in the world. As a member of the Atlantic Cooperative Telemetry Network, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources can detect and identify any VEMCO tagged fish or mammal that travels within range of our receivers. The research is conducted under National Marine Fisheries Service permit No. 20314. In 2019 project staff continued to monitor acoustic receivers in the Choptank River, Pocomoke River, Nanticoke River and Marshyhope Creek.
Approximately 50 juvenile and sub-adult Canadian-origin Atlantic sturgeon are being held in multiple aquaculture facilities throughout Maryland. These fish are cultured for scientific research on spawning techniques, sperm cryopreservation, husbandry, marking methodology, feeding and nutritional studies and genetic analysis.
Manning Hatchery produced more than 422,000 Striped Bass larvae for research, educational outreach and stocking purposes. During the year, 800 juveniles were transported to the Maryland Department of Juvenile Service's Meadow Mountain Youth Camp in Garrett County, where they are cultured as part of the facility's aquaculture curriculum and later stocked to meet the department’s management needs.
For the year, 2,630 hybrid sunfish were provided to support the department’s Youth Fishing Rodeo Program throughout the state dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/youth/rodeo.aspx and 660 hybrid sunfish were transported to the Maryland Department of Juvenile Service's Meadow Mountain Youth Camp in Garrett County for grow-out prior to rodeo stocking.
In 2019, Albert Powell Hatchery and Bear Creek Hatchery both tested pathogen-free for fish health from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Fishery Center Fish Health Laboratory.