American shad is a migratory species that has a long history in the Hudson River. Indigenous people and colonial Americans fished for shad for sustenance, often smoking the flesh and consuming the roe (eggs) as a delicacy.
American shad continued to be an important recreational and commercial fishery throughout the 20th century, but stock depletion resulted in the closure of the fishery in 2010.
This summer, a group from Camphill Hudson, a nonprofit organization supporting people of differing abilities, volunteered to help with the Sloop Club’s Waterfront Wednesdays at Henry Hudson Waterfront Park. From a table selling cookies and craft items, the volunteers raised money to help restore American shad to the Hudson River.
This year in March, DEC released the Recovery Plan for Hudson River American Shad (PDF). The plan outlines the efforts undertaken to recover the stock since its collapse and develops a transparent and science-based roadmap for reopening the shad fisheries.
The group of Camphill Hudson volunteers arrived at Norrie Point Environmental Center last week to visit and to donate a check for the funds they raised. “We also want to shine a light on how our community of people at Camphill Hudson are contributing to the world in meaningful ways,” said Billy Shannon, Development Coordinator for Camphill Hudson, who helped the volunteers learn about shad.
Camphill Hudson provided the donation to the Greenway Heritage Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley, which supports DEC’s mission at the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve.
DEC’s Hudson and Delaware Marine Fisheries team will be using this donation to purchase shad tags and improve the scales used to weigh fish. The tags will be inserted in fish captured next year to determine seasonal movement patterns and annual mortality rates. The scale improvements will allow for more accurate weight measurements and safer handling of the shad in the field.
Photos, from above: American shad; and Camphill Hudson volunteers, front row, left to right: Heather Gierloff, Hudson River Estuary Coordinator; Elias Rive, Camphill Hudson volunteer; Matthew Harrington, Camphill Hudson volunteer; Annie Pulsifer, Camphill Hudson Volunteer; Wes Eakin, DEC marine biologist. Back Row, left to right: Billy Shannon, Development Coordinator, Camphill Hudson; Scott Keller, Executive Director, Hudson River Valley Greenway; Kelly Turturro, DEC Regional Director; Elizabeth Streifeneder, DEC marine biologist; Rebecca Wolfram, Camphill Hudson volunteer; Gregg Kenney, Regional Biologist.