Product #: 11210F
Scientific Name: Alosa sapidissima
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Shad is a member of the herring family, living in saltwater for most of its life but spawning in freshwater rivers and streams. The raw flesh may appear gray but cooks up pinkish beige to rich brown. The meat is sweet and delicate with high oil content. Shad are also prized for their large, bright orange roe sacs. Shad have a complicated bone structure, though bones can be eaten when softened with prolonged low and slow cooking such as the traditional plank roasting over a charcoal fire. Those with the proper knowledge and skill are able to bone shad leaving a nice boneless fillet.
American shad is found along the east coasts of Canada and the U.S. from Newfoundland to central Florida. It was introduced to various rivers on the west coast and can now be found in the Pacific from Alaska to Baja California.
Most shad populations are very depleted and not showing signs of recovery. This depletion is attributed to both fishing and habitat degradation. A few isolated populations are beginning to rebound, but others are continuing to decline. Management regulations for shad have become stricter in the last few years. The ocean fishery for shad was completely closed in 2005, leaving only riverine and estuarine fisheries. Individual states are required to document the sustainability of their shad populations by 2013 or the state fishery will be closed. Individual states are required to submit a sustainable fisheries management plan for systems that will remain open to commercial and/or recreational fishing, establish a fishing mortality target for each river system and must monitor bycatch and discards of shad in all other fisheries. States must also compose a habitat plan, which details threats to habitat and plans to minimize or mitigate those threats. Shad are primarily harvested with gillnets, which have minimal impacts on habitat but can have substantial amounts of bycatch. Bycatch of most marine animals was eliminated with the closing of the ocean fishery in 2005. Now the greatest bycatch concerns are for the endangered shortnose sturgeon (bycatch in the shad fishery is the largest source of mortality) and diving birds. Little to no information is known about the quantity of bird bycatch and impact on those populations.
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