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Rockfish spawning index looks healthy

The 2014 juvenile index, which measures striped bass spawning success in the Chesapeake Bay, posted a healthy figure of 11.0, nearly equal to the 61-year average of 11.7, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced. “These findings reinforce that, although the coastal striped bass population has recently decreased from historically high levels, the spawning stock in the Chesapeake Bay is capable of producing healthy year-classes,” DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell said in a statement. Striped bass, also called rockfish in Maryland, spawn in Chesapeake and its tributaries each spring. DNR biologists survey 22 sites in the four major spawning systems — the Choptank, Nanticoke and Potomac rivers, and the upper bay.