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Friday, September 04, 2009

Shad Numbers Continue to Fall

For Release: Tuesday, September 1, 2009

As Shad Numbers Continue to Fall, Dec Plans to Close Hudson River Fishery to Protect Dwindling Stock

Three Public Meetings Slated for September

With the American shad population in the Hudson River at historic lows, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) plans to propose closing recreational and commercial fishing for American shad in the Hudson and prohibit commercial landings in marine waters. DEC will hold three public information meetings in September to outline steps to be taken to save this historically important species.

In 2007, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission conducted a coast-wide assessment of American shad stocks, with New York biologists playing a lead role. The assessment concluded that the Hudson River shad stock has declined substantially since the 1990s -- and now is at historic lows. Juvenile production dropped to a historically low level in 2002 and has not rebounded. Hudson River recreational and commercial fisheries were restricted in 2008 with the hope that it would trigger some improvement in production of young American shad. Because no change occurred, the DEC plans to pursue fishery closures.

Commissioner Pete Grannis said: "We have been closely monitoring the Hudson's shad population and hoped to see signs of rebounding, but unfortunately, that has not occurred. A closure now appears to be a necessary step to prevent the potential permanent loss of this historically and ecologically important species. We will continue to monitor Hudson shad populations with the hope that they will rebound to levels that will allow the fishery to reopen."

At the same time, DEC will implement a Hudson River American Shad Recovery Plan to help rebuild the stock. The recovery plan (PDF, 112 Kb) is available on the DEC website. The plan outlines current and future studies to investigate the suspected causes of the stock's decline. Over-fishing, habitat loss, increased populations of predatory species and competition for food sources are among the many factors to be evaluated. At the public meetings, DEC staff will also discuss and explain the measures of the shad population status that would enable a reopening of the recreational and commercial fisheries.

Public information meetings are scheduled for:

  • Monday, Sept. 14, 7 - 9 p.m., at Schodack Town Hall, 265 Schuurman Rd., Castleton-on-Hudson.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2 - 5 p.m., at the Marine Resources Advisory Council meeting at the DEC Marine Resources Office, 205 Belle Mead Rd., East Setauket.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16, 7 - 9 p.m. at the DEC Region 3 Office, 21 S. Putt Corners Rd., New Paltz.

For further information regarding status of New York's American shad stocks (PDF, 80 Kb), please visit the DEC website. For additional information on these meetings, please contact the Bureau of Marine Resources at 845-256-3071 or 845-256-3072, or r3hrf@gw.dec.state.ny.us.