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Shad in the Chesapeake Bay

Published: February 19, 2004

River shad have long played a pivotal role in the history, culture and economy of the states that border the Chesapeake Bay.

American shad constituted one of the most important mid-Atlantic fishery until the early 20th century, but by the mid-19th century, their populations had begun to decline. Over-harvesting, pollution and habitat degradation led to a sharp downturn in shad numbers. The construction of small mill dams and other obstructions, and later the development of large hydroelectric dams, blocked migratory fish from their spawning habitat.

For more than a decade, Bay Program partners have worked to remove dams and other blockages throughout the Bay watershed. By the end of 2004, Bay Program partners are on target to meet their goal to reopen 1,357 miles to shad and other migratory fish. A new goal will be set at the Chesapeake Executive Council’s 2004 annual meeting.

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Originator: Chesapeake Bay Program

Keywords: fish passage, shad
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