Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Virginia Journal of Science
We examined a corollary to the hypothesis that striped bass regulate the blue crab population in Chesapeake Bay by preying on juveniles, an expected inverse correlation between striped bass and blue crab abundance. Abundance indices based on Virginia striped bass young-of-the-year beach seine data (1980-1992) were constructed for fish ages 1 - 8, and for the Virginia resident stock component, ages 1 - 5. Fishery-independent, pound net data for fall and spring were also used to construct indices of striped bass abundance in Rappahannock River (1986-1993). Juvenile blue crab abundance indices were constructed based on trawl survey data from the James, York and Rappahannock Rivers. Fall crab abundance correlated positively with predicted Virginia resident striped bass abundance. Crab abundance in the spring did not correlate with any measure of striped bass abundance, nor did fall Rappahannock River crab abundance correlate with the fall Rappahannock River pound net index. Thus, these data do not support the hypothesis that striped bass abundance and blue crab abundance are inversely related. Striped bass populations do not appear to have regulated blue crab population dynamics in the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay from 1980 to 1992.
Chesapeake Bay, striped bass, blue crabs, population regulation, predation
Mosca, Thomas C. III; Rudershausen, Paul J.; and Lipcius, Rom, Do Striped Bass and Blue Crab Abundances Correlate in Chesapeake Bay? (1995). Virginia Journal of Science, 46(4), 249-258.