YELLOW PERCH PROJECT
Anne Arundel County students, in cooperation with Arlington Echo, are participating in the Yellow Perch Hatch, Raise and Release Project.
The yellow perch population in the Chesapeake Bay has declined over the last 50 years. Yellow perch spend their entire lives in the same river. They will migrate up to the fresh water part of their river to lay their eggs. This is called spawning. After about one year, the young perch will return to the brackish (mixture of salt and fresh water) part of the river.
The three major causes of the yellow perch population decline in Anne Arundel County include:
Habitat Loss: Since the late 1970's Anne Arundel County has seen a variety of development along its shorelines and creeks including houses, malls, roads, marinas, etc. Many of these places were the homes and spawning grounds of the yellow perch.
Overfishing: More people fish in the Chesapeake Bay every year. Most species of fish are not able to replenish their population with the increasing number of people harvesting them.
Pollution: Pollution can get into the Bay by many sources including nutrient runoff from farms and lawns, stormwater drains and factories. If there is too much pollution in the Bay, fish can be harmed in many ways: lawn and farm fertilizers reduce oxygen needed by fish to breathe, dirt from erosion and stormwater runoff can clog their gills (the gills need to stay clean to take in necessary oxygen) and pollution can harm the food that the yellow perch eat
Classroom Hatch, Raise And Release Projects
Many of the county schools are involved in raising yellow perch from eggs which are collected in nearby rivers. The students take data, observe and make predictions as they raise the fish. After the fish reach one-two inches in length, most of them will be released in the river where their eggs were collected. Some of the fish will be raised at Arlington Echo until they reach 7-10 inches in length, at which time they will be tagged and released. They will also be used to teach people about migratory fish, the problems they face and how we can help them.
Mary Moss Academy
Glen Burnie Senior
Chesapeake Bay Middle
This project has been funded by the Aquatic Resources Education Program of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
What Can You Do to Help?
There are many things that you can do to help the yellow perch and its neighbors in the rivers feeding the Chesapeake Bay.
- Clean up a stream
- Clean up and help restore a wetland or natural shoreline
- Control erosion
- Stencil on a storm drain "Chesapeake Bay Drainage - Do Not Dump"
- Use little or no lawn chemicals
In 1999, students tagged and released 50 fish into the Severn River. Echo Adventure Campers and students from Riviera Beach Elementary, Severna Park Elementary, West Meade Elementary, and Fort Smallwood Elementary schools helped tag and release our oldest yellow perch. The fish were raised from eggs at various schools two years ago. They were brought to Arlington Echo as hatchlings where they grew into 7-10" fish.
If you find a yellow perch with our tag please call us at (410) 222-3822 and let us know its location and condition. We are monitoring the progress, growth and location of each yellow perch.
Maryland DNR Yellow Perch
John Rentch's web page
Yellow Perch Info:
Yellow Perch Regulations
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Chesapeake Bay Ecological Foundation, Inc.
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Chesapeake Bay Trust
Bay Grasses in Classes
Brine Shrimp Project