||East Carolina Univ., Greenville, NC. Inst. for Coastal and Marine Resources.;North Carolina Dept. of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Raleigh. Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine Study.;Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.
Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) inhabiting Albemarle Sound and its tributaries support important recreational and commercial fisheries in coastal North Carolina. The major spawning area for Albemarle Sound striped bass is located in the Roanoke River, which discharges through several channels into the western end of Albemarle Sound. Since the mid-1970s, these fisheries have suffered due to reduced numbers of harvestable adults. Population decline may be caused by a number of factors such as reduced egg viability, poor food availability for larvae, and poor survival of juveniles on the nursery grounds of the western Sound. Studies on egg abundance and viability have been conducted each year since the mid-1950s by Dr. W.W. Hassler and co-workers from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The study described was undertaken with several objectives in mind: (1) to continue the data base established by Dr. Hassler; (2) to develop a method to backcalculate Hassler's data in an egg density-per-unit-volume format (to compensate for radical changes in the flow regime); and (3) to correlate the intensity of striped bass spawning (as measured by egg production) with water releases from the reservoir at Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Only objectives 1 and 3 are addressed in this report. Objective 2 will require an additional two years of studies to ascertain the relationships among the physical parameters of volume, water velocity, river stage, and rate of net filtration.