Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass Decline

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Susquehanna River smallmouth bass populations are facing serious threats, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).

In february, PFBC urged anglers and boaters throughout the Susquehanna River watershed to contact their members of Congress to demand action to fix the Susquehanna River.

“Congress needs to join the growing chorus of concerned citizens and businesses calling on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to declare the river impaired and start a timeline for developing a restoration plan,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “If officials do not act to address the water quality issues on the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania risks losing what is left of what was once considered a world-class smallmouth bass fishery.”

According to PFBC, a variety of evidence demonstrates that the river is sick and needs help, including:

* Minimum daily dissolved oxygen concentration and pH fail to meet the federal and state established criteria for the protected use of warm water fishes.

* Dissolved phosphorus levels are increasing at exponential rates.

* Scientific studies have documented that smallmouth bass populations have been steadily declining since the early 2000s.

* Angler claims of diminished smallmouth bass populations are widespread.

* Lesions and disease are decimating the young-of-the-year smallmouth bass resulting in poor survival rates.

* The river has not experienced a successful year class of smallmouth bass since 2005.

* Susquehanna River smallmouth bass exhibit a high incidence of intersex condition – male fish having female cells or the precursors to female cells.

“The Susquehanna River is sick and official action needs to be taken to address the poor water quality which impacts the fishery and the citizens, businesses, and visitors of the Commonwealth,” said Arway. “We urge you to contact your elected officials today with two simple messages. Tell them what the Susquehanna River means to you, and ask them to tell EPA to put a plan in place to fix the Susquehanna River before it is too late.”

Refer to the PFBC website at for a map showing individual members of Congress serving the Susquehanna River watershed. Members may be contacted by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 or by visiting or

Individuals are also urged to share a copy of all Congressional correspondence with Larry Merrill from EPA at

For more information about Susquehanna River smallmouth bass, visit

source: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission