Linking Fall Diets of Striped Bass in Chesapeake Bay to Proposed Nutrition Reference Points

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 4:20 PM
303B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Jim Uphoff Jr. , Maryland Fisheries Service, Oxford, MD
James Price , Chesapeake Bay Ecological Foundation, Easton, MD
We evaluated linkages of a proposed nutritional target for Striped Bass with average weight or calories of prey eaten, and forage availability in Maryland’s portion of Chesapeake Bay during October-November, 2006-2012.  Attainment of target nutritional status (low vulnerability to starvation) was indicated when 30% or less of Striped Bass were without body fat.  Most sublegal and legal Striped Bass sampled were vulnerable to starvation.  Chances of reaching the target were less than 1% for legal fish in four of seven years and six of seven years for sublegal fish.  In remaining years, there was a 44-100% chance that fish met the target.  Nutritional state of sublegal fish was closely related to grams of prey consumed per gram of Striped Bass during October-November, but nutritional state of legal fish was not.  Although five major prey items were identified, both grams and calories of prey eaten by both size classes of Striped Bass were usually dominated by Atlantic Menhaden even though their relative abundance was low.  Indications of low Striped Bass survival in Chesapeake Bay (tag-based estimates and relative survival indices) were consistent with poor feeding success, nutritional condition, and forage availability.