Hudson shad fishery closed in effort to rebuild stocks

Albany – DEC has officially closed American shad fishing for
both recreational and commercial anglers on the Hudson_River and
also marine coastal district.

The move comes several months after the state drafted proposed
regulations to prohibit shad fishing in those waters in response to
a serious decline in shad numbers.

DEC_officials said the decision was made “in an effort to help
restore the American shad population in New York’s waters.”

The regulations also prohibit the sale or “offering for sale” of
any American shad caught in New York State.

“Unfortunately, the Hudson River shad stock has declined
dramatically for more than a decade and even the restrictions
enacted in 2008 have not triggered a rebound,” DEC Commissioner
Pete Grannis said. “As a result, closing the fishery for now is the
best way to try to prevent this historically important species from
permanently vanishing from the Hudson River ecosystem. It’s not a
step we take lightly and we will continue to work on a process for
reopening the fishery if and when the shad population recovers to
sustainable levels.”

The regulations enacted last month also set new restrictions for
American shad in the Delaware River, where the daily creel limit
has been reduced from six fish a day to three commercial shad
fishing in the river has been prohibited.

The restrictions are part of a multi-phase effort by the state
to enable the American shad population to rebound. Juvenile shad
numbers dipped below average in the Hudson in 2002 and have not
recovered. In 2008, both recreational and commercial fisheries were
restricted with the hope that it would trigger some improvement in
shad recruitment. That didn’t happen, and DEC officials called the
closure of the fishery the last remaining option available.

DEC’s Hudson River American Shad Recovery Plan offers several
moves designed to rebuild the fishery. DEC and its partners last
year implemented several steps in the plan, including: a
tagging/tracking study to monitor adult spawning habitat use; a
bycatch monitoring program to quantify American shad caught in
ocean fisheries; sample collections to evaluate habitat use by
early life stages of fish; and a continuation of diet studies of
predatory fish such as striped bass.

“DEC continues to work on developing criteria for reopening the
fishery,” officials said in announcing the closure.

The regulations governing the shad fishing changes were
published in the March 17 edition of the New York State
Register.

(Visit the Outdor News Web site www.outdoornews.com/links
for links to the Shad Recovery Plan, a progress report on that
plan, and the shad fishing regulations changes that were published
in the New York State Register last month.)

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