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May 6, 2008

DNR stocks 25,000 American shad in Broad River

The SC Department of Natural Resources stocked approximately 25,000 marked American shad fry in the Broad River on Tuesday, May 6th with a majority of the stocking occurring upstream of the Columbia fishway. The stocking effort marks the beginning of a much larger scale restoration effort to stock millions of American shad fry per year in the Broad and Santee River systems. The shad fishery is the single most important finfish industry in South Carolina, but overfishing and spawning habitat degradation has taken its toll on the fishery. Through restoration efforts, the SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hopes to revive the recreational fishery for American shad.

Restoration efforts beginning May 6th include a pilot study to evaluate production methods within the Jack D. Bayless Fish Hatchery in St. Stephen. This will assist hatchery staff in meeting the large-scale goals of the overall restoration endeavor in upcoming years. At this time, hatchery staff is already in preparation for meeting next year’s production targets.

American shad are the largest members of the Clupeidae family, which includes herring, sardines and menhaden. American shad come upstream from brackish waters to spawn in the early spring. In South Carolina this spawning season starts as early as January due to water temperatures, peaking in February and March, and ending in April. Due to the rapidly increasing temperatures of the South Carolina river systems during the spawning season, adults tend to move much further upstream then American shad in more northern river systems. As a result, fewer than 10 percent of adults survive their spawning migration to spawn again.

Every spring the American shad migration gives rise to the South Carolina recreational fishery that occurs exclusively in freshwater during their spawning migration. Tens of thousands of anglers land American shad with their dip nets and artificial lures. Continual restoration efforts, like the one kicked off May 6th will allow licensed anglers the continual enjoyment this unique inland fishery.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.

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