Studies and Reports

1997 Striped Bass Cooperative Study

Performed due to an urgent need to investigate why large numbers of Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass exhibit signs of starvation & disease

During the Summer months of 1997, large numbers of Striped Bass, mostly fish from the 1993 year class that ranged in size from 18″ to 22″, had to compete for a limited food supply.  We now have large numbers of adult male Striped Bass exhibiting varying signs of starvation, and most of the fish examined internally have had empty stomachs and have had no abdominal fat. A general observation could be made that a higher than normal percentage of these fish appear to be extremely undernourished. Observations of damage caused by several types of parasites, in the form of small openings primarily on their fins and tail, do not appear to heal. These openings become infected and in many fish the tail has numerous small red sores. These sores were present in approximately 20% of the fish caught by hook and line, during the Summer/Fall 1997 Striped Bass season in the Choptank River and Chesapeake Bay. More serious skin problems were found in 12% of the population of Striped Bass over 16″ in total length. The skin abnormalities ranged in size from small round pinpoint sores to large areas of the fish covered with red sores up to ½” in diameter.

The information above was obtained in part from the 1997 Cooperative Striped Bass Survey conducted for the MD-DNR and from a Striped Bass lesion survey conducted for the MD-DNR Cooperative Oxford Laboratory, under Dr. Eric B. May’s supervision, by James E. Price.