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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New York Shad Fishing Under New Restrictions & Closures

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Action Needed to Address Historic Declines in Shad Stocks

In an effort to help restore the American shad population in New York's waters, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced new regulations that ban commercial and recreational fishing for the species in the Hudson River and the Marine and Coastal District of New York, effective today. 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 today also set new restrictions for American shad in the Delaware River by reducing the daily creel limit from six fish a day to three and prohibiting commercial shad fishing in the river.

These regulations are one part of a multi-phase effort being undertaken by New York State to enable the American shad population to recover. DEC's Hudson River American Shad Recovery Plan (PDF) (107 kB) sets forth an array of actions designed to facilitate recovery and rebuilding of the stock. In 2009, DEC and its partners implemented several Recovery Plan projects including: a tagging/tracking study to better to understand 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. A progress report on Recovery Plan projects (PDF) (20 kB) is available on DEC's website.

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