Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Sportfish Restoration Project F104R7


Annual indices of juvenile abundance have been generated from trawl survey data for several species of key recreational importance in the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay (spot, croaker, weakfish, summer flounder, black sea bass and striped bass, white and channel catfish) and four species of secondary importance (scup, white perch, northern puffer, and silver perch) for the period 1988-1997. No species has shown a continuous trend during the nine year period, although several species have revealed declines (spot, scup, y-o-y white perch, northern puffer) or increases (Atlantic croaker and striped bass) in recent years. Spot has shown the largest decline from a high geometric mean catch per trawl of 68 (1988) to a low (1992) of 2, reaching 8.6 in 1997. Atlantic croaker has the greatest variability between years, with the 1989 index of 65 being 4 to 7 times higher than that seen in the other eight years. The weakfish estimate has remained stable since 1995. Striped bass estimates remained stable in 1996 following a peak with the 1993 year class. Juvenile summer flounder remained low in 1996 as compared to the successful year classes of 1990, 91, and 94. Both black sea bass and scup juvenile recruitment to lower Chesapeake Bay continues a decline first noted in the early 1990's. The age 1 + values for the catfish species remained relatively stable while y-o-y estimates varies much more. Northern puffer has exhibited a near continuous downward trend since the start of the expanded survey in 1988. Silver perch are characterized by periods of very low abundance followed by several years of high catch rates. The 1996 river juvenile index was about 40% lower than the 1995 value (1.81 versus 1.18), while the bay and river index was only slightly lower (0.65 versus 0.59).



Fish populations -- Virginia, Fishery resources -- Virginia



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