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Bay Anchovy
(Anchoa mitchilli)

The bay anchovy, a small, schooling fish, is the most abundant and important non-migratory species of finfish native to the Chesapeake Bay. It is a major consumer of plankton and is itself a major food of predatory fish, making it a key species in the Bay's food web.

The bay anchovy occurs throughout the Bay and is widely tolerant of salinity and temperature. It lives to three years of age, seldom grows longer than 90mm, and spawns in the late spring and summer when low dissolved oxygen (DO) may limit the distribution of all life stages. Oxygen levels below 3.0 mgl-1 can be lethal to eggs and larvae and DO below 2.0 mgl-1 is critical. Specific habitat features, structure, and shoreline development are not particular concern for bay anchovy, but hydrographic features that affect water quality could limit its distribution and abundance. Surprisingly little is known about toxicant effects on bay anchovy. Bay anchovy losses from being entrained and impinged in power plant cooling systems may affect its abundance's as well as that of fishes it consumes.

Bay anchovy populations in the Chesapeake Bay fluctuate annually, however the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Juvenile Finfish Seining Survey indicates the bay anchovy has suffered from poor recruitment in recent years. Bay anchovy numbers have shown a dramatic decline since 1994 in Maryland's portion of the Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries documenting the first long-term decline ever recorded for the species. The 1997 Juvenile Finfish Seining Survey Index for bay anchovy is the lowest on record.

Bay Anchovy Data

Maryland Juvenile Bay Anchovy Geometric Mean

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