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Fishable River: Saving Hudson River Fish

For schools of migratory shad, sturgeon, herring, alewives, blue crab, mackerel, menhaden, and striped bass, the Hudson is an unimpeded corridor from the Atlantic to the ancestral spawning grounds. Tidal action stirs the brackish broth and traps the rich stock of nutrients and minerals drained from the Hudson’s 13,500-square-mile watershed, feeding the younger migratory fishes and making the Hudson one of the two principal spawning grounds on the East Coast.

However, recent studies have shown that many Hudson River fish species are in serious long-term decline and at risk of collapse if quick and aggressive measures are not taken. Of the thirteen key fish species studied in Riverkeeper’s Pisces Report, ten have declined in abundance since the 1980s: shad, tomcod, bay anchovy, alewife, blueback herring, rainbow smelt, hogchoker, white catfish, weakfish and white perch. Only three species — striped bass, bluefish and spottail shiner — have increased in abundance, mostly due to regulations and circumstantial changes that favor them. Contrary to public perception, this report shows an increasingly unstable ecosystem in the Hudson.

Riverkeeper’s Fishable River Campaign is aimed at halting the decline of Hudson River’s signature fish species and restoring their numbers to sustainable levels. The campaign addresses the many negative impacts on the health of the fish including: habitat loss and degradation, sewage overflows, power plant fishkills, invasive species, ocean bycatch and overfishing.

News on Hudson River Fisheries

Current Status and Future of the Hudson River American shad stock

Hudson River Fish Advisory – NY State Department of Health

  • Hudson River Fish in Peril – The Pisces Report

  • Threats to Hudson River Fish

  • Assessing & ImprovingFisheries Management