• Progress

    Forage fish and invertebrates provide important ecosystem services in the Chesapeake Bay. Forage species support the ecosystem structure, serve as conduits of energy transfer between primary producers and predator species, and, in some cases, support commercial fisheries.

    Because forage species play such a critical role, it is essential that we develop a strong understanding of and establish effective monitoring programs for these species.

  • Management Strategy

    To achieve the forage fish outcome, participating partners have committed to:

    • Defining forage species;
    • Determining the status of the forage base;
    • Establishing management objectives for priority forage species;
    • Promoting actions to manage fisheries and protect habitats that support forage;
    • Maximizing the efficiency of monitoring programs; and
    • Building on existing efforts to map areas and habitats important for the production and maintenance of forage.

    These partners will also collaborate with the work being done to achieve the blue crab abundance, blue crab management, fish habitat, fish passage, land use methods and metrics development, land use options evaluation, oyster, and water quality standards attainment and monitoring outcomes.

    As part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partnership-wide implementation of adaptive management, progress toward this outcome was reviewed and discussed by the Management Board in August of 2017. This outcome will be reviewed again in 2019.

  • Work Plan

    Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions to achieve the high-level approaches identified in the management strategy above.

    Completed actions from the work plan include:

    • In 2015, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources published draft benchmarks of striped bass nutrition and forage availability in an effort to develop indicators to asses forage status and striped bass well-being in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland has also begun to evaluate and quantify consumption indices for striped bass.
    • In 2016, the Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team shared the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee report on forage species with stakeholders through the Management Board.
  • Participating Partners

    The Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team leads the effort to achieve this outcome. It works in partnership with the Vital Habitats and Healthy Watersheds goal implementation teams.

    Participating partners include:

    • Maryland Department of Natural Resources (State of Maryland)
    • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    • Virginia Marine Resources Commission (Commonwealth of Virginia)
    • Department of Energy and Environment (District of Columbia)
    • Potomac River Fisheries Commission
    • Chesapeake Bay Commission
    • National Marine Fisheries Service (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
    • Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission