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Effort underway to gauge population of key small fish

January 18, 2018

Interstate fishing regulators are trying to get a better handle on the population health of a species of small fish that has been harvested on the East Coast for centuries.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says it’s starting a stock assessment for American shad that it expects to be completed by summer 2019. Shad are members of the herring family that’ve been harvested for their meat and eggs since at least the Revolutionary War.

The commercial harvest of shad has dipped over the decades. Fishermen caught more than a million pounds of them as recently as 2005, but the harvest dipped to about 375,000 pounds in 2016.

They have been historically brought to land from Maine to Florida. Recently, most East Coast shad have come ashore in the Carolinas.

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