abstract Fisheries have been prosecuted in the Hudson since prehistoric times. Oysters, American shad, and sturgeon were important food fisheries into the twentieth century, although of these, only a dwindling commercial shad fishery persists. Striped bass, another formerly important commercial fishery, went into decline and subsequent recovery from management actions; today, it supports a major recreational fishery. Other important sport fishing includes largemouth and smallmouth bass, and American shad. Toxicants and power plants have been long-term threats to fisheries, and will continue to pose problems for the indefinite future.
Of all the relationships humankind entertains with the Hudson River, perhaps none is so intimate as that of fishing. The harvest of fish and shellfish from the Hudson has endured for thousands of years, and connects us both with the river's productivity and with our cultural past.
Other chapters in this book describe the fish fauna and its use of various habitats within the system. Here, we concentrate on the fisheries themselves, focusing on key species within the commercial and sportfishing arenas. We also examine some of the factors that potentially have large effects on fisheries, namely, the impacts of power plants that withdraw water from the river, and the persistence of contaminants, especially PCBs.
Historical Importance of Hudson River Fisheries
FROM NATIVE TO COMMERCIAL FISHING
Before modern agriculture and globalization of products, the fisheries of the Hudson River were an important and diverse local source of protein.