Stable Prey, Declining Predators

SCIENTISTS HAVE MEASURED the abundance of prey species and the predator fishes that eat them in the Chesapeake Bay. For many of the most-consumed types of prey, abundance has been stable since 2002. But for several species of predator fishes, the number has declined. Fisheries scientists continue to explore why the number of predator fishes fell while the amount of food available for them to eat did not.

The prey (worms) and predator (Atlantic croaker) shown here represent these trends. Abundance is shown using different, but comparable, calculated measures: total weight for worms and number of fish for croaker.

Graphs of predator and prey adundances over time

Note: Gray areas represent margins of error

Sources: Analyses of ChesMMAP and other survey data by Andre Buchheister, Ed Houde, and Carlos Lozano for the Chesapeake Bay Program's Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team and the Chesapeake Bay Trust

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