Striped Bass Committee Report

by Mike Burke

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association April 1998 Newsletter)

On February 18-19, I attended the striped bass research workshop in Baltimore, Maryland. Twelve scientists had prepared talks or were reporting the results of studies they have been conducting. The last portion of each day was devoted to round table discussions. I found three topics interesting.

Disease Issues:

A pathologist from Virginia handled this topic. In his report he states that 30 out of the 450 fish he has examined so far had a bacterial infection. Some of these fish had skin legions with missing scales. The legions have a raised, rough granule texture with some bleeding. He also has reports from fishermen in the northern parts of the Chesapeake Bay that as much as 40% of the fish they are handling have similar legions. The severity and cause are still unknown. To date, he has only had small fish to examine. He expressed a desire to obtain larger coastal swimming fish exhibiting these legions. I briefly spoke to him about helping him gather the larger fish. When I get the particulars on the handling and transporting of the fish, I will be contacting the clubs.

Shad Predation:

This report, presented by a scientist from Connecticut, was an impressive display of charts and formulas. It is immediately apparent that this scientist has spent a good amount of time, energy and probably money in his study. He was obviously very proud of his work for he even intends to have it published in a scientific journal. To summarize his report, Connecticut River striped bass eat a lot of shad!

Please excuse me for being so cynical but I can't help wondering why a renowned marine biologist is studying shad? Are all the other Connecticut fisheries doing well? Or is the Connecticut DEP looking for an excuse to open a commercial striped bass fishery?

A Quality Fishery:

This was a round table discussion. In preparation for the next amendment to the striped bass management plan the ASMFC asked the question "What is a quality fishery?" As you could imagine everyone present had a different idea. Anyone wishing to express his or her opinion should forward it to me.

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