Large Herring – American Shad

Large Herring – American Shad – Restocking in New York

The American Shad (Alosa sapidissima) is a large herring-like anadromous fish. They make annual migrations from the oceans into the rivers and streams of the East coast of America, with the goal of spawning in mind. These fish move in mass up the rivers starting around March to June depending on where you are located. Historically they were one of the most important fish in America. Providing food and income for people for hundreds of years. It can be said that salted shad helped form this nation, helping to feed the Continental Army during the US Revolution.

They were so numerous that many said you could cross rivers on the backs of American shad. A bony but succulent fish that was often smoked and salted to preserve it. Its roe was considered a delicacy and was often served in the White House. In the 1800s they were so cheap that they were used as a common fertilizer for crops. But as time progressed, rivers and streams were dammed up for human use. That plus pollution and improper management of our waterways have the shad run in many parts of the nation a pale shadow of the historical shad runs.

Now in efforts to bring back the American Shad stocks in New York state, DEC fisheries staff in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission have recently stocked 322,000 American shad fry in the Susquehanna River at Endicott, New York. The eggs and milt work were collected from the Potomac River fish stocks and then reared at the Van Dyke State Fish Hatchery in Penssylvania. After 30 days of rearing there, they were trucked up to New York.

All these hatchery fish were marked as well, that way in the event they are recaptured, DEC fisheries staff can collect useful information. Such as the growth of the shad, their movements, and the rate of stocking success.

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