The outlook for Chesapeake Bay rockfish, or striped bass, is improving slowly, but restrictions on the industry will continue until the species can repopulate and pollution can be curbed, experts meeting here said last weekend.
Representatives of the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Maryland and Virginia environmental agencies were at the Ocean City Convention Center during the annual Sportfishing Expo to explain their roles in saving the dwindling rockfish population.
The officials outlined their joint efforts to clean up the fish-spawning habitats in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and research hatcheries as as a tool to increase the number of rockfish.
Rockfish are migratory fish that live in salt water but spawn in rivers and at the heads of tidewaters. They are extremely susceptible to the effects of pollution, and Maryland has imposed a moratorium on catching the species.
Meanwhile, state biologists in Denton, Md., are planning an experiment on the Choptank River that could pinpoint the reason for the decline of the Chesapeake Bay rockfish.
Rudolph Lukacovic, fisheries biologist with the Tidewater Administration of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, received approval recently from the Caroline County Commission to perform the tests.