Abstract Striped bass populations have declined precipitously in both Chesapeake Bay and the San Francisco Bay Delta system. Parallel declines in both systems indicate possible common climatic patterns or trends affecting both populations. Climatic instability on both coasts with accompanying changes in average rainfall, outflow and temperature may be interacting with deteriorating water quality and pollution resulting in declining populations of striped bass in both areas. Declines in east coast striped bass stocks have been attributed to: overfishing; nutrient enrichment of the habitat and the resultant, temperature-oxygen squeeze on subadults; deterioration of the near-shore habitat for juvenile striped bass resulting from the loss of submerged aquatic vegetation; decreased survival of larval striped bass due to environmental pollution; poor nutritional state of larvae; and fluctuations in the physical environment and predation. In the San Francisco Bay Delta area the decline has been attributed to the interactive effects of reduced freshwater outflow and increased freshwater diversion, and decreased bay flushing and increased pollutant burdens which have adversely affected both egg production and egg and larval survival.