Saving Shad

Jul 19, 2012

Two years have passed since the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation banned Shad fishing ... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports on the ongoing effort to preserve and protect the fish's habitat.

What we call Hudson River Shad are actually Western North Atlantic Shad that return to the river where they were born to spawn. Over the years hundreds of thousands ended up in nets - intercepted by fishermen and fisheries as they migrated home - Hudson River American Shad have been decimated by overfishing, habitat loss and pollution. The fish migrate to several rivers up and down the east coast. 

Chris Nack is a master student at the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse - he comes from a Columbia County family of fisherman - he is deeply involved in Shad recovery and habitat preservation.  Chris' work is funded by Riverkeeper and the DEC. Centuries-old habitats fell victim to progress early on ...  the Hudson lost over 4-thousand acres from the late 1800s to the early 1900s when New York State created a shipping channel all the way to Albany.

With the fisheries now closed, and the effort to restore Shad habitats in full swing, Riverkeeper Patrol Boat Captain John Lipscomb hopes a lesson will be learned.

Experts do not believe the Shad will disappear entirely. Through sonic-tagging the DEC has tracked the fish returning to their old haunts, especially the shallow water flats at Kingston. The expectation is that the population will continue to rebound as old habitats are restored and other protections enforced.