BALTIMORE (AP) - Smallmouth bass are a favorite of fisherman, who spend millions chasing them. And a new report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation says that also makes them a good indicator of the health of freshwater rivers and streams in the bay watershed.
Even though they are an introduced species, the report released Thursday says they have become a major part of the region's culture and economy. The report says fishing for the species is responsible for $630 million in sales in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. And that means they are closely tracked by fisheries regulators.
The report's authors say smallmouth bass are sensitive to environmental changes that have led to lesions, intersex traits and other problems. And that can indicate possible future health problems in other species.