Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass Decline Study

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A comprehensive study suggests that likely causes for the population decline of smallmouth bass in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River are endocrine disrupting compounds and herbicides; and pathogens and parasites.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), along with nearly 50 participants and 6 partner agencies, recently released results of the study.

Following a smallmouth bass population crash in 2005, and additional observed maladies, such as tumors and lesions on smallmouth bass, the team used ground-breaking monitoring strategies to collect water quality records annually, along with review of existing research to isolate the possible causes keeping young-of-the-year (YOY) smallmouth bass from growing to adulthood.

Of the 14 initial candidate causes identified by the workgroup, only two were determined to be likely causes of the poor recruitment: Endocrine disrupting compounds/herbicides, and pathogens and parasites.

Details of the study, a webinar to present the findings of the study and the full report can be found at:

http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Water/PointNonPointMgmt/WaterQuality/Pages/SusquehannaRiverStudy.aspx#.VnH_hl7U4jV.

source: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission