There Was Once a Time: Shad, Fishermen & the Hudson 0

Shad fisherman 2_med

It is shad season on the Hudson River, but there are no shad fishermen. In 2010, New York State halted commercial fishing of American shad because of a crashing population, bringing to an end a centuries-old tradition, and the reputation of the Hudson River as an environmental success story.

There was once a time when every river town was home to commercial shad fishermen. The appearance of their boats and nets along the Hudson shore was a certain sign spring was here to stay. Tradition taught that the first run of American shad left the Atlantic to spawn in the river’s fresh water reaches when the forsythia were in bloom, and the final run just after the lilac flowered.

Appropriately, the image above was one of hundreds of news photos, presumably from the disposed archives of the former Evening Star, rescued from a dumpster in Peekskill, New York by photographer Howard Goodman.

More on shad and shad fishing here.