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Wed Jan 6, 2021, 07:02 AM

Chesapeake Bay receives another D+ on health report, due largely to struggling rockfish population

For the second time in a row, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation scored the bay’s health a D+ in its biennial report card released Tuesday.

The poor grade for 2020 was “largely due to ineffective management of striped bass,” also known as rockfish, said William C. Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in the “State of the Bay” report. The foundation’s score in that category plummeted 17 points — “the largest decline in any indicator in more than a decade,” the foundation said.

Last year, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates fisheries along the East Coast, required Maryland and other states to reduce their rockfish harvests by 18%. The commission also voted to reduce the catch of menhaden — a key food for rockfish — by 10% along the Atlantic coast (but not in the Chesapeake Bay).

Maryland opted to close down the rockfish harvest for two weeks in late August to respond to the requirement. But scientists with the bay foundation said that period should occur earlier in the summer, and last longer.

Read more: https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/environment/bs-md-state-of-the-bay-2020-rockfish-20210105-dcxbljul2fd4jcqreke6ecwdvi-story.html

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