Herring, Shad, Eels & Sturgeon – Diadromous Fish Basics

Herring, Shad, Eels & Sturgeon – Diadromous Fish Basics


[MUSIC] Today I’m here at the St. Stephen fish lift. I’m gonna be meeting up with freshwater fisheries biologist Bill Post who’s in charge of the diadromous fish project. We’re gonna learn how different diadromous species move from down river to up river to get to their spawning grounds. [MUSIC] Well diadromous fish include a group of fishes that migrate between saltwater and freshwater for the purpose of reproduction. Species of diadromous fish that I’m responsible for are the anadromous fish which includes The American shad, the Blueback herring, the Atlantic sturgeon and the short-nosed sturgeon. The only catadromous fish that I’m responsible for is the American eel. The only way that they are going to be able to make it upstream is if there is some type of fish passage facility installed. Fish passage facilities are such things as fish ladders, they can be fish locks, they could be fish lifts. Ladder is nothing more than it mimics a natural fish way or a natural stream. So you build it such that it has the same current and velocity that a natural stream has to entice the fish to actually use it to enter it. But once the fish enters the fish way then it navigates through a number of different riffle pools or different velocities of water in order to reach the exit and that would be on the other side. As you can see the dam here is higher than any low head dam so we have to in this case have the fish enter into a chamber. And they get locked in and then we fill that chamber with water and a basket comes up underneath them as they come up through the chamber, And then they’re released on the top side. What we do during the spawning run is we conduct gill netting just like commercial anglers so we get an idea of what their catch is. We have to actually go out and sample their catch as well and for aging purposes but we will also go out and net for our self. The general workup consists of sexing them and getting a length on them and then tagging them And the reason we tag them is in case a commercial angler happens to catch them and then we’ll know what the exploitation rate is. You’re catching the adult a lot of people still like to eat them. The shad roe is a delicacy and some people still eat the meat. If you’re fishing for the young of the year, the small shad, they use that as bait for stripped bass and some of the other fishes. The American eel, if they catch the young of the year, they are usually caught here, And then shipped overseas where they raise them in aquaculture facilities until they’re larger ages for consumption. Thanks to Bill Post. I had a great day here at the St. Stephens fish lift learning about diadromous fish species. I hope that you guys will make a note to come out between mid-March and mid-April and visit the fish lift as well And we will catch you guys next time [MUSIC]

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