BRUNSWICK, Ga. (4/14/2010)
Do you fish for American or hickory shad? If so, please plan to attend a meeting at Holton's Restaurant in Midway, Georgia at 6:00 pm on Thursday, April 29, 2010. Staff from the Coastal Resources Division (CRD) and Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will present information about recent activities of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and how those activities will affect management of Georgia's shad fisheries.
Amendment 3 to the ASFMC Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Shad and River Herring has established a moratorium on commercial and recreational shad fishing unless it can be shown that a fishery is sustainable. State fisheries managers interested in the continuation of shad fishing in their waters must submit plans to ASFMC showing how they will be sustainable.
Don Harrison, WRD biologist in charge of shad management in Georgia explains, “We will need to prove that our management plan for commercial and recreational shad fishing will not diminish the potential future stock. States without an approved sustainability plan in place could risk having their shad fisheries closed by 2013.”
Amendment 3 was developed in response to the findings of the 2007 benchmark stock assessment for American shad, which indicates that Atlantic Coast American shad stocks are currently at all-time lows and do not appear to be recovering. It identified the primary causes for the continued stock declines as a combination of excessive total mortality, habitat loss and degradation, and migration and habitat access impediments. Although improvement has been seen in a few stocks, many remain severely depressed compared to historic levels.
“American shad are anadromous fish, which means most of their lives are spent in the marine environment but they must enter freshwater rivers in order to spawn. As a result, they come into close contact with human populations, and are vulnerable to many threats,” stated Doug Haymans of CRD. “Commercial gill-net fishing for shad occurs in rivers where Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon are found. Therefore, we will also need to take into account interactions with these species as we develop new management measures,” Haymans concluded.