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Juvenile rockfish index rises in 2013

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources said its index of Striped Bass juvenile spawning in the Chesapeake Bay was measured at 5.8 this year, a substantial increase over last year’s total of 0.9, but below the 60-year average of 11.7. The annual survey tracks the reproductive success of Maryland’s state fish, commonly called rockfish. The reproduction rate varies widely from year to year, due to environmental factors such as water temperature, salinity and flow rates. DNR biologists this year counted 759 juvenile rockfish among 34,000 fish of 51 different species at 22 sites in the four major spawning systems — the Choptank, Potomac and Nanticoke rivers, and the upper bay.