** Archived Article - please check for current information. **
January 23, 2012
Commercial shad, herring fishing gearing up
Every year, 150 to 200 commercial fishermen harvest an average 357,000 pounds of blueback herring, American and hickory shad using cast nets and shad or herring gill nets. Commercial season for American shad in South Carolina opens on some waterways as early as Jan. 1 and can close as late as April 30. Fishermen are responsible for checking the regulations pertaining to the river system where they are fishing.
There is no closed season for recreational fishing for shad with hook and line, (including rod and reel) and skimbow nets are allowed Feb. 1 through April 30. The limit is 10 shad per day in all areas, with the exception of 20 shad per day in the Santee River and the Rediversion Canal. Shad or herring gill nets are allowed for commercial use. Find out seasons, limits and more>>>
Exhibiting a life cycle similar to salmon, American shad, hickory shad, and blueback herring swim up rivers along the Atlantic coast in late winter through spring to reproduce, or spawn. Most adult fish from Southern rivers die after spawning, but their offspring return to their river of origin to spawn after spending three to five years in marine environments as far north as southern Canada.
American and hickory shad are harvested for their meat and roe (eggs) and are served as a traditional delicacy in many restaurants here in South Carolina. Some portion of the harvest is often sold to other states for consumption. The blueback herring, which is smaller than the American shad, is primarily sought for its value as a baitfish as striped and largemouth bass forage on this species. However, some adult fish are sold to states, such as North Carolina, where fisheries for herring are closed. Fish are sold in large quantities for consumption during their state’s annual herring festivals.
If you would like to fish for shad or herring you must:
- Purchase a commercial freshwater fishing license if harvesting shad and herring only in freshwater. A commercial saltwater fishing license is required when harvesting in saltwater. Commercial fishing for shad and herring in both salt and freshwater requires both licenses.
- Purchase a shad gill net, herring gill net or herring cast net license (not a nongame gill net license).
- Call the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Office of Fisheries Management in Charleston at (843) 953-9311 for the required permit necessary to harvest these species. The permit will allow fisheries biologists to manage and monitor these species and provide the necessary information required to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Some anglers will harvest shad with reward tags. If you catch a tagged shad then send your name, phone number, date and location of capture, the fish’s measurements, tag number and gear type used to harvest to: DNR Shad Program, PO Box 12559 Charleston, SC 29422 or call 1-888-TAGS-4-SC. For questions in regard to the shad and herring fishery, please contact DNR biologist Bill Post at (843) 953-9821. More information on shad and herring fisheries>>>
- Commercial shad, herring fishing gearing up
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