November 2007

The VIMS Juvenile Fish Survey recently completed their monthly sampling of Chesapeake Bay and its juvenile fish populations for 2007. Survey scientists encountered a first during November; they identified a Rock Seabass while sampling in the vicinity of the second and third islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Rock Seabass are closely related to Black Seabass and are generally found from North Carolina south to the Gulf of Mexico. This is the first verified VIMS record of this species within Chesapeake Bay.

Young Black Drum (< 12”) were common in the middle section of both the Rappahannock and York rivers and in the James River from Hog Island to Hampton Roads. Similarly, a number of young Sheepshead were seen while working on the York River. Small Bluefish (approx 12”) were abundant this month, only absent from the most upstream portions of the tributaries within the survey. Speckled Trout were common in both the James and York rivers with a number of “keeper”-size fish measured, the majority of which came from the Poropotank River downstream to Purtan Island on the York River, while the largest fish was measured near Old Point Comfort on the James River.  Pan sized and slightly larger White Perch were abundant in that same section of the York River as well as upstream in the lower reaches of the Pamunkey River. Additionally, survey personnel noted unusually large numbers of White Shrimp in samples from the entire survey area. This finding may be beneficial to those individuals who consider shrimp while choosing bait.