A dramatic decline in Maine's striped bass population has left both scientists and recreational anglers wondering about the causes. This summer, GMRI and the Maine chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association launched a cooperative initiative to uncover the answers.
"There isn't a lot of data available on Maine's striper population," said Lisa Kerr, GMRI Fisheries Ecologist. "Anglers are uniquely positioned to contribute the information needed to understand the dynamics of this local resource."
“The Snap-a-Striper program provides us with a way to understand and improve the management of our local striped bass resource, and it offers anglers a
way to invest in the resource’s long-term health.” Lisa Kerr, GMRI Fisheries Ecologist
To understand where the fish have gone, researchers must first discover where they come from. Maine's striper population is thought to be made up of fish that are spawned locally and fish that migrate from more southerly regions, but the relative contribution of each is unknown.
When anglers catch a striped bass, they fill out a data card and photograph the fish next to it, enabling our science team to obtain accurate body measurement data from the image. Anglers can also bring the head of any legal fish they keep to one of several drop-off locations so our science team can perform chemical analyses on the fish's ear bones. Together, these datasets can help fishery scientists determine the origin and the migration history of the fish.
"The Snap-a-Striper program provides us with a way to understand and improve the management of our local striped bass resource," Kerr said, "and it offers anglers a way to invest in the resource's long-term health."
Lisa Kerr, GMRI Fisheries Ecologist