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Rockfish Futures

Despite excellent conditions, the Young of Year Survey is disappointing

Despite excellent conditions this past spring with plenty of rain and cool temperatures, the Young of Year Survey of rockfish reproduction success for 2013 is a very disappointing 5.6, well below the 60-year average of 11.7.
    Over the past seven or eight years, Young of Year spawning numbers have come to look more and more like the profiles that precipitated the rockfish moratorium of the 1980s. The only recent high count came in 2011, when our spring weather was so violent that virtually nobody fished until late May.
    That just might be a clue for Maryland Department of Natural Resources to look at fishery practices that can harm the spawn: pre-season catch and release, the early spring Susquehanna Flats season, perch nets in the rivers and the trophy season’s starting date.