Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Concern about the decline in landings of American shad (Alosa sapidissima) along the Atlantic coast prompted the development of an interstate fisheries management plan (FMP) under the auspices of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Management Program (ASMFC 1999). Legislation enables imposition of federal sanctions on fishing in those states that fail to comply with the FMP. To be in compliance, coastal states are required to implement and maintain fishery-dependent and fishery-independent monitoring programs as specified by the FMP. For Virginia, these requirements include spawning stock assessments, the collection of biological data on the spawning run (e.g., age-structure, sex ratio, and spawning history), estimation of total mortality, indices of juvenile abundance, biological characterization of permitted by-catch and evaluation of restoration programs by detection and enumeration of hatchery-released fish. This annual report documents continued compliance with Federal law. Since 1998, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have monitored the spawning run of American shad in the James, York and Rappahannock rivers. The information resulting from this program is reported annually to the ASMFC, has formed the basis for a significant number of technical papers published in the professional literature, formed the basis for a recent coast-wide stock assessment and peer review for American shad (ASMFC 2007a, 2007b) and is contributing substantially to our understanding of the status and conservation of this important species. A number of individuals make significant contributions to the monitoring program and the preparation of this report. Commercial fishermen Raymond Kellum, Marc Brown and Jamie Sanders construct, set, and fish the sampling gear and offer helpful advice. They have participated in the sampling program since its beginning in 1998. Their contributions as authors of historic log books of commercial catches during the 1980s and as expert shad fishermen are essential elements of the monitoring program. We also extend our appreciation to several commercial fishers for their cooperation in our studies of by-catch of American Shad. In 2010, these individuals include: Kenneth Heath, Joseph Hinson, Robert Weagley, and Charles Williams. In 2010, the staff and students of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science who participated in the program were: B. Watkins, P. Crewe, A. Rhea, R. Norris and R. Harris. Their dedication, consistent attention to detail and hard work in the field and in the laboratory are appreciated. B. Watkins determined ages of fish. B. Watkins and A. Rhea determined hatchery origins of fish. Fish products from the sentinel fishery are donated to the Food Bank of Newport News, Virginia. We offer thanks to the Hunters for the Hungry (Virginia Hunters Who Care) organization for their assistance



American Shad, Alosa sapidissima, James River, York River, Rappahannock River, Virginia, Fisheries


Funding Agencies: US Fish and Wildlife Service Virginia Marine Resources Commission Virginia Institute of Marine Science Contract Number: F-116-R-13