The Chesapeake Bay Foundation rated the health of the Chesapeake a D-plus for 2020.
Among the reasons for the low grade: the plummeting score assigned to the status of the rockfish, or striped bass. That number in the fisheries category dropped 17 points.
William Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, blamed part of the problems on “ineffective management of striped bass.”
Chris Moore, a senior scientist with CBF, said, “Rockfish, often called striped bass here in the Chesapeake Bay region, are arguably the most important recreational and commercial fin fish we have in the Chesapeake Bay.”
Blue crabs did well, according to the report, with a 60 out of 100. That puts the blue crabs at a B+. Protection of the population of adult female crabs should be a focus of fishery managers, the report said.
Oysters, long a focus of restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay, got a grade of F. The report cites overharvesting, an argument that has generated debate in Annapolis. The report says “regulations implemented in Maryland have failed to reduce fishing rates or resolve overfishing.”