Monday, November 20, 2017

Some happy but wary about shads return to the Delaware

Steve Meserve shows off shad in Lambertville. Kim Weimer, staff photographer
A big shad run up the Delaware River this year has many excited the historic fish could be making a comeback. But others urge caution, saying the fish has a long way to go.
Kyle Bagenstose reports for the Bucks Courier-Times:
The number of shad — little-known but important fish — increased dramatically in the Delaware River in 2017, leading to the fish’s best migratory showing in decades.
That’s according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which netted 1,262 shad during its surveying this year, the most since 1995.
But some fish watchers are urging caution. They note that it’s just one year in a long history of declining shad populations along the Atlantic Coast.
“We don’t want to make too much of any one year, in any one place,” said Joseph Gordon, Northeast manager for U.S. oceans with the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts.
Many area residents may best know the fish through Shad Fest, an event held each spring in New Hope and Lambertville.
Shad Fest gives participants a taste of the fish, as restaurants serve up shad hauled in by local fishermen. Like salmon, shad spend most of their lives at sea but migrate up fresh waterways to spawn once a year.
That makes them an integral part of the ecosystem, providing an important food source for saltwater and freshwater predators.
“They take important nutrients from off-shore ecosystems and bring them into rivers,” Gordon said. “There’s this crucial link that connects the ocean to river systems, which could be recovered but is mostly gone.”
Shad were once so abundant in the Delaware that numerous fisheries in Bucks County and beyond employed fishermen who caught and shipped them to restaurants in Philadelphia and New York City. But mid-20th-century pollution prevented shad from migrating up the Delaware, dropping their migratory numbers from the millions to zero, with a modest recovery in recent decades.
Like this? Use form in upper right to receive free updates
See popular posts from the last 30 days in right column --- >>

Subscribe here to view all our YouTube videos

Repost this article