The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in partnership with the Rice Rivers Center at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is announcing a new Virginia Shad and River Herring Research Initiative to advance conservation goals for these iconic and culturally significant migratory fish.
Migratory American shad, hickory shad, alewife, and blueback herring once supported vital commercial and subsistence fisheries in Virginia. Beginning in the 20th Century, however, a combination of overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, dams, and the introduction of non-native predators diminished these once-mighty fisheries.
The Service and Rice Rivers Center will engage with a broad consortium of state agencies, tribal governments, academia, and NGOs to identify what’s preventing migratory shad and river herring from returning to coastal rivers and rebuilding their populations and will propose conservation measures that could help reverse the declines in populations and recover these valuable, iconic, migratory fish to Virginia’s coastal rivers.