Claim: global warming driven extreme weather will increasingly disrupt striped bass fishing holes

From the UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE and the department of fish stories, comes this:

Researchers study impact of extreme weather events on striped bass

Abrupt changes in habitat could impact fish populations

A large striped bass caught at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Image: Wikimedia
A large striped bass caught at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Image: Wikimedia

SOLOMONS, MD (August 2, 2016) — Striped bass are known to have favorite summer swimming spots to which they return every year. They are creatures of habit. However, when a hurricane hits, everything can change very quickly. The water level rises rapidly. Runoff floods the river with sediment and chokes off the oxygen. Heavy rains create rushing currents and a sudden drop in water temperature. And the fish leave the area in a hurry. Scientists call it “evacuating” to better conditions.

Researchers from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science wanted to know the impact of severe storms on fish populations that have to make sudden and unexpected trips downstream, away from their preferred habitat, to more hospitable waters. Thanks to global warming, waterways that make up important habitat for fish are likely to experience an increased frequency of such extreme conditions.

“These events happen naturally, but having them occur more frequently may have a bigger impact on the fish,” said the study’s lead author Helen Bailey. “If you get more frequent storms during the year, it is possible you could interrupt their breeding and feeding in ways that impact their population.”

Bailey and Dave Secor tracked 22 striped bass in the Hudson River Estuary (which hosts one of the largest populations of this species) and New York Harbor during the Tropical Storms Irene and Lee in 2011. Occurring about a week apart, the significant weather events caused heavy rainfall, major flooding, and sudden influxes of fresh, cold water into the waterways.

The year before, during normal conditions, researchers had tagged the fish that lived there with small electronic transmitters that regularly pinged their every move. After the storms, they were able to compare the data to examine how their behavior was impacted by the extreme storm events.

“There are very few studies on this because it so hard to sample during these storm events. You can’t predict when they will happen and these can be hazardous conditions to work in,” said Bailey. “Telemetry data gave us the opportunity to do it.”

The researchers discovered that when the storms hit, most of the fish rapidly left the Hudson River and New York Harbor, moving south along the coast. A few remained in the harbor and were able to avoid being displaced. Others did a few exploratory trips later back to the harbor to check on conditions over the next few months and eventually returned up the river.

“It’s not unusual for fish to be leaving this area at this time of year,” said Bailey. “What was very unusual was that so many of them did it, they went so far south, and they did it so quickly.”

There were several changes to the behavior that the researchers didn’t expect. Most concerning, depending on when the storm events occurred, some of the striped bass that evacuated the areas did not immediately return, adopting new migration behaviors.

“The responses of fish species to extreme weather events will need to be considered when planning management strategies to ensure efforts are appropriately targeted to maintain key population segments and critical evacuation routes,” said Dave Secor, the study’s co-author at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.

Located where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory is the oldest publicly supported marine laboratory on the East Coast. Founded in 1925, it has long been a national leader in fisheries, environmental chemistry and toxicology, and ecosystem science and restoration ecology with a focus on whole ecosystem management and restoration. From developing successful fisheries management plans and breaking new ground in understanding how chemicals move between the atmosphere, sediments, and water to renowned work on nutrient dynamics and the food web, the lab is developing new scientific approaches to solving environmental management problems that face our world.

“Coastal evacuations by fish during extreme weather events” by Helen Bailey and David Secor of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, was published online in Scientific Reports on July 26.


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August 2, 2016 11:47 am

A report on 22 fish 5 years ago leads us to all these conclusions how?

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  fossilsage
August 2, 2016 12:46 pm

That not only humans run from bad weather. Who woulda thunk it? What a waste of funding that was.

Reply to  fossilsage
August 2, 2016 1:42 pm

They took the data they had and spun it to when climate change causes lots of storms and flooding. You wonder when all these hurricanes from “global warming are going to happen?

Reply to  fossilsage
August 2, 2016 5:40 pm

It took 5 years because they were waiting for another storm that never came.

Reply to  fossilsage
August 2, 2016 10:03 pm

fossilage, they were running out of grants.

george e. smith
Reply to  fossilsage
August 3, 2016 11:51 am

The biggest and most imminent threat to the striped bass fisheries and population, is not any climate event.
Credit the voracious California water thieves who are desperately trying to get both the Striped Bass and all species of so-called Black Bass, which are not really bass at all. So both large mouth, and small mouth and spotted bass too, along with stripers they are trying to get reclassified as ” Invasive Species ” that threaten the native salmonids of California.
Virtually ALL of the species of fresh water fishes that are sought by recreational fisherfolk in California are not native to California. That includes all of the sunfish family , all of the crappies, striped bass, and their related white bass.
Maybe 1% of California fresh water sport fisherfolk target, trout and salmon, also steelhead; of course not counting the brain dead planted rainbow trout that kids fish for with worms. well Cormorants catch most of those dumb trout, or in some lakes near me, the resident black bass, wait for the truck to dump the planters, because they pretty much don’t eat anything else. In particular they are way to smart to eat anything out of your tackle box, but if you hook a 10 inch planted rainbow, they will get it before you can.
Absent the recreational and sport fishefolk in California, there would be nothing to stop the southern California water thieves from taking all of the water from Northern California rivers. Northern Californians like the planted rainbows, are too dumb to realize what the water thieves are up to.

August 2, 2016 11:53 am

Gone fishin for the cause. Just deposit the check to this account number.

Tom in Florida
August 2, 2016 11:54 am

What’s next? The EPA creating a fish evacuation plan?
It seems fish are smarter than humans when it comes to getting out of the way of bad weather.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  Tom in Florida
August 2, 2016 12:05 pm

Yeah, they just kinda ‘Go with the Flow…’

Reply to  Tom in Florida
August 2, 2016 12:15 pm

And it’s filed under “normal fish behavior.”
This article is a clear sign its authors are educated beyond their intelligence.

Reply to  Goldrider
August 2, 2016 6:49 pm

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Academic Education?

Reply to  Tom in Florida
August 3, 2016 6:51 am

Exactly my thoughts, re the fish smarter, but I would add smarter than these folks from the University of Md including Helen Bailey who wrote this piece of crap. I suppose the fish learned to migrate for food many, many years ago. Stripped bass migrate up and down the east coast every year, and even high schooled fishermen know better, look at the 2015 map here:

Neil Jordan
August 2, 2016 11:55 am

But did their model consider that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Sea Level Rise will give the fish more water to evacuate to and return from?

Steve (Paris)
August 2, 2016 12:01 pm

How did nature ever cope without Global Warming Scientists (deep bow please) to manage and protect it?

Joel O’Bryan
August 2, 2016 12:03 pm

It’s worse than we thought.
“extreme weather events” will be the anthropogenic weather event (AWE) paradigm. Climate hustlers are getting too nervous about telling folks to wait 30 to 85 more years to see anthropogenic climate change. That leaves to much to risk nature telling them their wrong as the climate is cyclic at those scales. Better to tell them their fishing may have to move around as pelagic weather refugees. Sort of like Finding Dory.

August 2, 2016 12:04 pm

Striped bass are migratory. Any fishing hole is just based on temporary local conditions. Baitfish schools, for example. Used to fish for stripers up and down Chesapeake Bay off the Patuxent River in summer. They return to rivers to spawn in summer, then range up and down seacoasts in winter. New York state has a nice long article on the Hudson river population.
The paper is mostly climate nonsense. Especially since SRES found weak to no associations between weather extremes and climate change.

Reply to  ristvan
August 2, 2016 12:32 pm

Stripers are an introduced species in the California S.F. Bay system. They migrate widely and laugh off temperature swings from near freezing (our ocean is about 45 F and the rivers can be snow melt) up to very warm (solar warming ponds for rice irrigation feed back into the Feather River.. in Summer it is typically “110 in the shade and there’s no shade.”) Warmest I personally remember was 117 F near Marysville… and at those times the river is warm…
That “paper” is reporting a failed study with nearly no data in an attemt not to look like a complete waste of effort… it failed.

Reply to  E.M.Smith
August 2, 2016 1:23 pm

…and since they’ve never done this before….they don’t even know if this is normal behavior

August 2, 2016 12:11 pm

There’s no reason to believe a warming climate will produce more extreme weather. The issue should be dead.
The CAGW extreme weather meme must surely be fraudulent.

August 2, 2016 12:12 pm

“If you get more frequent storms during the year
well we haven’t

August 2, 2016 12:22 pm

Sure. Why not. Everything else is blamed on global warming.

Bryan A
August 2, 2016 12:25 pm

What this shows me is that these fish are resilient and adaptive. The fact that a few storm events could trigger a different migration pattern doesn’t necessarily mean that the fish are doomed, But it does indicate that they are capable of adapting to changing conditions and that we are capable of learning something more about their behavior than we thought we knew.
What you Think you know isn’t always the Whole Truth

August 2, 2016 12:31 pm

I’m more concerned with the progressive disruption of flora and fauna by industrial windmill and solar farms. Save Bambi!

Bryan A
Reply to  n.n
August 2, 2016 2:28 pm

I saw your post and misread it as “Progressive Distribution of flora and fauna” and immediately flashed on Cuisinart and progressively fewer parts as you got further away from the wind mill

August 2, 2016 12:33 pm

“However, when a hurricane hits, everything can change very quickly.”
If more frequent hurricanes are a known effect of global warming, then we must not be experiencing any global warming. The US is currently in the longest ‘hurricane Drought’ in recorded history. How do they keep ignoring such inconvenient facts?

Bryan A
Reply to  Louis
August 2, 2016 2:29 pm

by calling the ones that do develop, “Super Storms”

Rhoda R
Reply to  Bryan A
August 2, 2016 8:07 pm

Even if they barely manage to make Cat 1 status.

Andrew Kerber
August 2, 2016 12:46 pm

If I remember correctly, stripers are a human created hybrid species to begin with. How would any or their behavior be natural?

Reply to  Andrew Kerber
August 2, 2016 1:34 pm

There are hybrid stripers in many freshwater lakes and reservoirs. Cross of striped and white bass. These are not those. These are anadromous fish native to the north American east coast. So good as a game fish that three states have it as their state fish, and several more have it as their state saltwater fish.

Reply to  ristvan
August 2, 2016 2:02 pm

Truly one of the most enjoyable things to eat! Nothing liked grilled striper with just the right seasoning.
Getting ready to take a sailing trip out of providence bay in september. Hoping to get a little striper fishing in…gotta help the lobsters. 🙂

Reply to  ristvan
August 2, 2016 5:20 pm

They are also delicious! Really good meat, great with barbeque.
Here in Mass you can only buy stripers for very short period in the summer, and they go for over $20/pound in the store.
You can’t always catch them either – I had been doing fishing charters for many years now, and some times you get lucky and some times you don’t – we normally try to get striper but if doesn’t work we go for bluefish. Not as good, but not bad at all, when fresh.
Anyway, people who run those charters are experienced fishermen, and they generally laugh when conversation moves toward AGW.

August 2, 2016 12:49 pm

The bigger problem are the dead spots in the Bay caused by algae blooms from agricultural and urban runoff.
This is especially true off Pax River in the Spring with a corresponding lack of fish (they gotta breathe). 100 years ago the Bay was essentially clear with oysters doing most of the filtering. Today I can’t see 2 feet into the water at times off my dock due to the algae.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  rbabcock
August 3, 2016 7:47 am

Hush, we can’t talk about real pollution. Then we’d actually have to fix it.

Jonas N
August 2, 2016 12:57 pm

First I thought this was a picture of Gavin Schmidt back from his better days. Or even of Michael Mann before he became such a tool ..

Reply to  Jonas N
August 2, 2016 7:24 pm

The one in the foreground or the one in the background? Just askin’.

Reply to  H.R.
August 3, 2016 2:40 am

The one wearing the glasses.

Reply to  H.R.
August 3, 2016 11:56 am

After a closer look, I believe you’re right, jartheroriginal. The other one seems to be wearing contact lenses.

August 2, 2016 1:00 pm

The global warming crowd do this all the time. Think of something people like, then tell them that global warming will make it more expensive/rare/impossible. Hence the regular headlines saying that global warming will drive up the price of coffee/beer/chocolate. They try to cover every demographic, so this week it’s fishing.

August 2, 2016 1:32 pm

It’s my 43rd Wedding Anniversary today. We were married in a village near Truro, in Cornwall. It poured down overnight, and eased off just as we left the church as man and wife for the wedding photos. I checked the Cornish weather today. It rained heavily overnight then eased off to isolated showers later. Has the intervening 43 years of Thermageddon made that much difference? Just saying.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Kevin Lohse
August 2, 2016 2:07 pm

It is now a warmer rain.

Reply to  Kevin Lohse
August 2, 2016 2:40 pm


Dan Hawkins
August 2, 2016 2:51 pm

Anthony – I love your “Department of Fish Stories.” I look for your departmental classification in all your posts, they are spot on!

Reply to  Dan Hawkins
August 2, 2016 3:06 pm

Speaking of “Departmental Classifications”, I think Anthony should add another new one….. The Department of…. ” Seriously ? “, aka…”WTF” !. !! The first post post can be on the topic of ….”In twist, environmentalists fight proposed carbon tax – because it doesn’t grow gov’t “…
From FOX NEWS earlier today,,,,,,
It boggles the mind….

Reply to  Marcus
August 2, 2016 6:58 pm

Also, Dept of we really really whether it’s from the Onion, but when in doubt, treat as if it’s real academic stuff.

Reply to  Dan Hawkins
August 3, 2016 2:51 pm

I’m guessing that Anthony used to read Mad magazine. They had a humorous “Department of …” heading for most of their articles.

H. D. Hoese
August 2, 2016 3:29 pm

It is not rare to see fisheries papers with a conclusion having little to do with the data and blaming it on something not studied. Fish, among other animals, have survived being moved long distances by hurricanes. One in Texas on freezes had a conclusion section that poorly followed their substantial data.

August 2, 2016 4:38 pm

“It’s not unusual for fish to be leaving this area at this time of year,” said Bailey. “What was very unusual was that so many of them did it
Would it help the bass if we cut fossil fuel emissions?
If not, it has nothing to do with the AGW narrative

August 2, 2016 4:58 pm

What did the fish say when it hit the wall?

Robert from oz
August 2, 2016 5:47 pm

The smarter humans become the dumber they get .

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
August 2, 2016 6:01 pm

The study says that “These events happen naturally, but having them occur more frequently may have a bigger impact on the fish,” said the study’s lead author Helen Bailey. “If you get more frequent storms during the year, it is possible you could interrupt their breeding and feeding in ways that impact their population.” — do the authors have the data that shows the more frequent occurrence of storsm during the year compared to the past? If they have got such data, they should have presented that first instead of making qualitative statements. Unfortunately such qualitative studies increased in recent time and thus showing poor quality of peer-reviewing. It is like the Two Telugu States in India, controlling TV chanels dumping garbage on people with poor quality of works with the prime objective of get power and amassing wealth. The print media publishes paid article in support of such rule and refuse to publish anything against them.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Walter Sobchak
August 2, 2016 7:04 pm

Fish got fins and they can move. Who knew?

August 2, 2016 7:33 pm

““Coastal evacuations by fish during extreme weather events” by Helen Bailey and David Secor of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory”

What was actually discovered?
That striped bass watch the weather channel?
That striped bass, and oddly, a great majority of fish species are perfectly capable of getting the h*ll out of Dodge when conditions degrade.
The fish simply migrate to more suitable conditions. What a surprise!?
Basically, some biological station was caught without any publications to their credit; and possibly very little research of value. They dashed off a smoke and mirrors compilation that sounded good to the bosses.
Junk science.

August 2, 2016 10:10 pm

Since there haven’t been any hurricanes to hit the New York Harbor (since Sandy which wasn’t a hurricane when it hit there) Can I now fish there and get some of those big striped bass since there have been no hurricanes for over 10 years?

Ray Boorman
August 3, 2016 12:00 am

This research paper, or at least the comments attributed to the researchers involved, are over the top. First, they say that because of the dangerous conditions during hurricanes, no-one has done any research previously on what happens to fish during severe storms. Then they say that 22 fish were tagged in 2010. And finally, after the data from the storms in 2011, they now claim that it it is “unprecedented” that so many fish migrated out of the Hudson so quickly when the storms arrived. Truth be told, they have nowhere near enough data after just 1 year to say anything more than exactly where the fish travelled in that ONE year!

August 3, 2016 3:08 am

Here is a quote from Anglers Chesapeake Fishing Report 07/14/2016:

Well guys and gals it’s been another exciting week here on the old Chesapeake Bay. With plenty of
big stripers hanging around and some bluefish starting to show up its bound to be
a July for the record books. The general theory of fish above the bridge from the
Bay Bridge to seven-foot knoll is still holding true in regards to big stripers
in the upper 30” range..

Looks like the fish and fishermen have weathered climate change.

August 6, 2016 7:32 am

In a related story SBLM (striped bass lives matter) leadership has called for reparations as a result of being temporarily displaced from their home due to WASP driven climate change.

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