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Posted at 09:23 AM ET, 10/19/2011

Rockfish in Maryland making a comeback, survey says

Maryland officials confiscate Illegal fishing nets that trapped rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay (MATT MCCLAIN - THE WASHINGTON POST)
Maryland’s struggling rockfish appear to be making a comeback, state fisheries scientists say.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources released a survey Tuesday that showed rockfish — also known as striped bass — spawning at their fourth-highest level of the last 58 years.

The report is a blessing for Maryland’s state fish, which suffered a population collapse in the 1980s and, more recently, was struck by a wasting disease that infected nearly three-quarters of the Chesapeake Bay’s rockfish.

Officials attribute the turnaround in part to a five-year fishing moratorium that they say has helped increase the spawn sizes. The moratorium was lifted in 1990

The survey comes months after the close of a dismal rockfish season, which ended in February after Maryland watermen took a hit from poachers and brutal weather.

By  |  09:23 AM ET, 10/19/2011

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