October 23, 2023

New Survey of Young Striped Bass Continues to Point to Trouble for Atlantic Fishery

fishing, striped bass, fish-558232.jpg
Article Contact: Kaleigh Leager,

Why it matters: The Chesapeake Bay is one of the largest estuaries in the United States, boasting its infamous brackish (partially salty, partially fresh) waters deriving from the Atlantic Ocean and 64,000-square-miles of watershed from its neighboring states. The Bay is known for many things, but it is well recognized for its importance as the primary nursery for striped bass anywhere along the Atlantic coast. Unfortunately, the Atlantic striped bass population has seen a troubling decline in recent years, and the latest result from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ 2023 Juvenile Striped Bass Survey continues to sound an alarm for fisheries managers and anglers alike.  


  • In May of 2023, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) issued an emergency action that implemented a 31-inch maximum size limit for all recreational fisheries along the Atlantic Coast to reduce fishing mortality in the striped bass fishery in an attempt to address the declining population.
  • Recently, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources released their 2023 Juvenile Striped Bass Survey results, which indicated that the 2023 year class of striped bass was one of the lowest on record.
  • In a press release on October 12, 2023, the MD DNR stated that the weather conditions over the past several winters have not been conducive to the success of striped bass reproduction in the Bay and has played a significant role in the decline of the population.
  • While environmental variables are a major factor in survival of young fish, concerns over the number of striped bass that are both harvested and those that die after release in the recreational and commercial fisheries will likely lead to additional regulatory changes for the 2024 fishing season.

The Striped Bass fishery in the Chesapeake Bay has been a point of contention for many years as the population has continued to decline. The recent and significant finding of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) regarding the number of juvenile fish produced in 2023 has anglers concerned about the future of the population in both the Chesapeake and Atlantic waters, in addition to their ability to pursue and harvest these highly sought-after fish in the future.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is currently considering a management addendum to Amendment 7 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan that will propose options for the ocean and the Chesapeake Bay fisheries to reduce fishing mortality to target levels that allow the population to rebuild by 2029.

“Environmental conditions often play a huge role in the survival of juvenile fish following any spawning season, and that’s certainly the case with striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay,” said Chris Horton, Senior Director, Fisheries Policy at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF). “While yearly variations in spawning conditions are out of our control, the one thing we can do is ensure that anglers and commercial fishermen are fishing at sustainable levels. The ASMFC needs to take a hard look at current regulations and consider more impactful ways of reducing fishing mortality, including closing all fishing in the warmest months when catch-and-release mortality is at its highest.”

CSF will continue to work in collaboration with state and regional partners to advocate for the fair and proper management of the striped bass populations within Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Coast.

Further updates on this topic may be made available when possible.

View All news

Back TO All

In Season


Stay current with the latest news, policy activity and how to get involved.

Sign up for Newsletters


Donate today so we can keep fighting for tomorrow!

Donate Now