Bay Journal

Topics: Fisheries

Scientists fear steep loss of Bay grasses lies ahead

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Portions of the Chesapeake Bay’s underwater grass meadows appear to be headed for steep declines this year, a delayed response to the torrential rains that poured vast amounts of water-fouling sediments and nutrients into the estuary during 2018.

Initial reviews of this year’s aerial survey show significant losses of underwater grass beds in parts of the Mid Bay, where the bulk of the Chesapeake’s underwater grass beds are located.

At the same time, preliminary reviews of the aerial images show that portions of the Upper Bay survived last year’s deluge of muddy water surprisingly well, with grass beds even expanding in some areas.

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Maryland, Virginia ease crabbing limits

Buoyed by evidence of a surge in the Chesapeake Bay crab population, fisheries regulators in Maryland and Virginia have approved modest increases in harvest limits for the rest of this year. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted...


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About Fisheries

Acre for acre, the Chesapeake Bay is one of the most productive water bodies on the planet when it comes to fish. Populations of the native striped bass and nonnative blue catfish have risen dramatically in recent decades, while blue crabs appear to be on the road to recovery.

Recent interest in aquaculture has sharply increased commercial production of oysters from the Chesapeake. Nonetheless, problems such as historic overfishing, habitat loss and disease have reduced the abundance of some iconic species such as wild oyster populations, American shad and river herring, American eels and Atlantic sturgeon to near record-low levels. In the headwaters, brook trout have suffered major habitat losses.

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