Is fishing mortality the cause of the striped bass decline? A recent study claims otherwise. Scientists researching weather patterns at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration are pointing to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation as a likely factor in striper ups and downs.
The AMO, a combination of wind and ocean currents in the North Atlantic, seems to flip flop every 35 years or so. When such a shift happens, it affects local weather along the Atlantic coast, providing deliberate temperature and precipitation shifts, and subsequently river flow and salinity changes. When the AMO is in a warm phase, springtime along the East coast tends to be wet and cool – more rain,more water, more food. In the years following that phase, striper numbers go up. The the AMO flips – drier springs less rain and less food, which results in a decline in striper numbers.
Taken from Fly Fishing in Saltwaters – Sept/Oct
The future of the striped bass by John McMurray.
John has been guiding for striped bass for over a decade and has noticed a decline in catch returns since 2006. His personal opinion for the decline is that too many fish are killed in the recreational, poaching and discard arenas. It needs corrective action – reducing fishing mortality.