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Blame the cannibals?

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Was looking at some photos of stomach contents recently and got to thinking cwm40.gif

 

There are many pictures with large stripers that had smaller stripers in their gut. There is seemingly a lack of small bass in recent years, although the YOY index indicates there should be fewer as the YOY has dropped a bit in recent years....now my question...

 

How many small bass do you think get removed from the population each year by larger bass? Say for example theres 1,000,000 large bass that consume 3 schoolies apiece during a typical year(which is entirely possible, IMO). Take these numbers and adjust them up and down as you wish, but what do you think the number may be? Could be several million, could be several hundred thousand, no?

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I've fished the Chesapeake a couple times in the winter, and the number of bass from 16 to 20 inches is astronomical. I wouldn't be surprised if they rank as one of the main prey for the large bass that move in there to spawn in the spring and to feed in the late fall/winter.

 

Without bunker in the bay in reasonable numbers (Thanks Omega!), the bass have to turn to the schoolies and other food sources.

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But not overfishing? No never ever overfishing. No one wants to admit that. During the previous striper crash a lot of wack job explanations were touted include sun spots. There was even an article in Sci American that said the cause was increased water temperatures. The same old ridiculous reasons are re-surfacing. But no on wanted to talk about overfishing. No...not the truth; that is just too painful....

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View PostBut not overfishing? No never ever overfishing. No one wants to admit that. During the previous striper crash a lot of wack job explanations were touted include sun spots. There was even an article in Sci American that said the cause was increased water temperatures. The same old ridiculous reasons are re-surfacing. But no on wanted to talk about overfishing. No...not the truth; that is just too painful....

 

 

Overfishing is certainly a culprit, as is myco. My question was how many do you think we lose to predation in addition to the other factors?

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View PostI suspect mycobacteriosis, not predation, is the real culprit.

 

It's everything. The bass are suffering a death by 1000 cuts.

 

Lack of forage in the Chesapeake thanks to bunker overfishing is causing

 

A) Increased predation on juvenile bass

B) Increased stress in bass

 

The increased stress is making bass more susceptible to mycobacteriosis. The disease itself is nothing new, but how it's affecting bass is. More and more bass are succumbing to it most likely because their resistance to such diseases has been weakened thanks to the stress related to the lack of forage fish.

 

This isn't to mention the abysmal YOY indexes lately, which indicates something is going wrong with the spawning.

 

Factor in the immense fishing pressure the fish face 12 months a year from Maine to North Carolina and you have 4 solid reasons for why the bass are going to be (or already are) in trouble, none of which are being addressed.

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