skip to main content | skip to footer
North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 26 American Shad SSR 2015

Marine Fisheries

American Shad

American Shad — 2015

Stock Status - Concern Commercial landings decreased in 2014, and were below the 10-year average due to changes in management. A coastwide stock assessment for American shad was completed in August 2007, which indicated stocks in the Albemarle Sound and tributaries were low but remained stable and stock status in other systems of the state was unknown, in 2013 a Sustainable Fishery Plan was enacted to manage the fishery. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is currently collecting fishery dependent and independent data in all systems.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2005-2014 208,837 lbs./ $216,043

2014 Commercial Landings and Value 193,130 lbs./ $160,977

Average Recreational Landings Not available

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, American shad are included in the Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) FMP compliance requirements. An ASMFC FMP for Shad and River Herring was approved in 1985 and Amendment 1 of this plan was approved October 1998. Since the 2007 coast wide stock assessment the ASMFC approved Amendment 3 to the Shad and River Herring FMP in February 2010. Nursery and spawning habitat for American shad will be evaluated to assess habitat degradation, barriers to migration, and water quality. Amendment 3 requires a sustainable fishery management plan (SFP) for all systems that will remain open to commercial or recreational fishing. The 2013 commercial season for all areas occurred during February 15 to April 15 except the Cape Fear River where the season ran from February 20 to April 11, 2013. In 2014 and 2015, due to SFP triggers met in the Albemarle Sound Management Area a shortened season occurred from March 3-24, 2014 and 2015.

Research and Data Needs – Conduct spawning area surveys and juvenile abundance surveys in all NC river systems; improve and expand methods of monitoring catch and effort data in commercial and recreational fisheries; establish indices of abundance in all N.C. river systems utilizing dependent and independent data; validate current aging techniques for American shad.

2014 Regulations – There is no size limit. The recreational bag limit in Albemarle Sound and Neuse and Bay rivers is a 10-fish aggregate (hickory and American combined) per person, per day, of which only one American shad can be taken within the 10-fish aggregate. The Cape Fear River and tributaries recreational limit is a 10-fish aggregate of which no more than 5 may be American shad. In the Pamlico and Pungo rivers, Pamlico Sound, and other coastal and joint waters the limit is no more than 10 fish in the aggregate per person, per day recreationally.
Check with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries for the most recent proclamation on commercial seasons and gear restrictions.

Harvest Season The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission adopted a rule in 1995 establishing a commercial harvest season of January 1-April 14; it is unlawful to take American shad and hickory shad by any method except hook-and-line from April 15-December 31. Specific area seasons are announced by proclamation each year for clarification.

Size and Age at Maturity Males: 12-17.5 inches fork length / 3-5 years
Females: 15-19 inches fork length / 4-6 years

Historical and Current Maximum Age – 10 years/9 years

Juvenile Abundance Index 2005-2014 0.47, 2014 0.53

Habits and Habitats - American shad are anadromous, spending the majority of their lives in the ocean, returning to fresh water to spawn. Spawning occurs from March to mid-June, primarily in the high flow portions of rivers where there is sufficient current to suspend and move the eggs. Juveniles spend their first growing season in their natal river and sound systems until the water temperatures decrease, triggering emigration to the ocean. American shad will remain in the ocean until reaching sexual maturity and return to fresh water to spawn.

For more information, contact Lindsey Staszak at Lindsey.Staszak@ncdenr.gov (800-338-7805 or 252-264-3911).

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

NCDMF logo

Print
38337 FEEDBACK

Your input is valuable to us. Please send us your feedback.

What type of feedback would you like to send?*

Ask a Question Report a Problem Have a Concern Make a Comment

(If you would like us to respond please include your phone or e-mail.)

Your Question has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Problem has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Concern has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Comment has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

*If you are a DENR employee with an I.T. issue, please submit a DOTS ticket.