Hey JD, do you have any input regarding a theory that the non-indigenous Stripers may have a contribution to the current downturn in several indigenous species (i.e. Pacific Coast Salmon, Delta Smelt) populations?
Don, while stripers do dine juvenile salmon, there’s no evidence that suggests that they have big impact on salmon populations. Though non-native, stripers have been coexisting with salmon for 150+ years. In surveys of predators conducted in the Delta recently, Delta smelt have not been found in the stomachs of striped bass and in fact, stripers may actually help Delta smelt by preying on fish that like to eat smelt.
Nope, stripers are not the cause of all this. The main problem with the smelt is poor water quality in the Delta. caused mainly by epic water diversions. Back when we had big numbers of salmon and smelt, the striper numbers were also high…everything has collapsed since record water exports started a few years ago. The salmon are influenced by poor water quality though the major cause in their decline has been lousy ocean conditions.