The Commercial Fishery for American Shad in the Hudson River: Fishing Effort and Stock Abundance Trends

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Proceedings of a Workshop on American Shad

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The American shad (Alosa sapidissima) has been an important food fish in the Hudson River since colonial days. Intermittent records of the fishery since the late 1800's reveal a period of high production from 1880-1901; the all time record year was 1889 when the reported catch was 4,332,000 pounds. This period of high production was followed by a period of low catches through the mid 1930s. Continuous records since 1931 indicate that shad landings and fishing effort increased to relatively high levels again from 1936-1946. Shad landings and fishery effort then steadily declined through 1975. Yield per effort indices of abundance since 1931 show that the shad population in the Hudson River has oscillated with a periodicity of 14-16 years but in a generally declining trend. A reassessment of the current management program seems appropriate.

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