TOP 10 COMMERCIAL FISHERIES
BY WEIGHT LANDED IN THE CHESAPEAKE*
Menhaden spawn in the ocean, but they
use the Bay as a nursery area where they
are the preferred food for striped bass
and other species.
#2 BLUE CRAB +
#3 CROAKER +
#4 STRIPED BASS +
#5 SPOT +
#7 SUMMER FLOUNDER +
#8 WHITE PERCH +
#9 OYSTER (SHUCKED MEATS)
#10 BLUEFISH +
VA: Pots (96%)
MD: Pots (68%)
In Maryland, blue crabs are the most
valuable Bay fishery. Crabs have
rebounded due to science-based
management (see page 15).
Adults enter the Bay to spawn in the
summer. Juveniles overwinter in rivers.
92% of the total 2010 catch was taken
Rod & Reel
This Bay fishery was restored with
science-based management. Rockfish
spawn in rivers, depend on menhaden as
food, and are highly valued by anglers.
Spot are a seasonal Bay visitor and
spawner like croaker. Because these fish
prefer higher salinity, 94% of the total
catch was taken in Virginia in 2010.
Three of the six Bay species are nonnative. Most of the catch is in Virginia
except channel cats. Blue cats have gone
from 0 to 42% of the total in 10 years.
Summer flounder visit the Bay from
spring through fall. About 90% of the
total catch is landed in Virginia.
Flounder are highly valued by anglers.
White perch—a year-round Bay resident
and river spawner—prefer low salinity.
90% of the total catch is taken in
Maryland’s catch went from 86% in 2001
to less than 50% in 2010 as Virginia
oysters became more disease resistant.
Virginia has more aquaculture production.
Gill Nets (50%)
Bluefish—once dominant as a Bay
fishery—are usually not abundant at the
same time as striped bass. 76% of the
total catch was taken in Virginia in 2010.
Source for weight and value: National Marine Fisheries Service commercial landings data for the Chesapeake Bay
*Landed and caught in significant numbers in the Chesapeake Bay. +Also important in recreational fisheries.