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Striped Bass Sampling on the F/V Queen Mary

by Heather Corbett
Assistant Biologist
December 12, 2007

The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife's Bureau of Marine Fisheries continually seeks opportunities to collect striped bass data beyond that collected as part of the Striped Bass Bonus Program. Over the years this has entailed such activities as going to fishing tournaments and on party/charter boats. This fall we were fortunate enough to be invited aboard the party boat F/V Queen Mary out of Point Pleasant. Captain John "JB" Brackett allowed Division staff to sample the striped bass catch, providing the bureau with data otherwise not available.

On a November 28, 2007 outing, personnel measured and weighed the 121 striped bass caught by the 24 anglers on board. Scale samples were collected from 39 fish for age determination. Only eleven fish were of legal size, but the catch of the day was Ron Johnston's impressive 40-inch striper weighing 24 pounds. By using scale samples from this striper, the age was determined to be 11 years old from the 1996 year class. This particular year class has the highest striped bass index for the Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass Young-of-Year Survey.

Queen Mary at dock
A happy Ron Johnston (with the catch of the day) on the Pt. Pleasant dock.
Click to enlarge

There are many different ways to use the information collected on the F/V Queen Mary (Figure 1). These include the development of length frequencies and age/length keys. The majority of the fish caught were 22 inches. By using an age-length key, we can determine that these fish were most likely four years old, from the 2003 year class. Catching a lot of fish this size helps to validate the apparent strength of that year class, which was one of the highest young-of-year indexes for the Delaware River and the Chesapeake Bay.

It was a beautiful day for sampling, with plenty of bluefish caught and birds working. The F/V Queen Mary is a participant of the Striped Bass Bonus Program and Captain JB's generosity and cooperation with the Division's striped bass sampling and the Bonus Program has been greatly appreciated.

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Last Updated: December 12, 2007