American shad, once an important commercial and recreational fishery, declined sharply in the late 20th century; however, this trend may be reversing, thanks to the cooperative efforts of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Since 1998, the two agencies have worked together to restore depleted populations of American shad along the Atlantic Coast by stocking more than 8 million “marked” shad fry in the Roanoke River as part of the Roanoke River American Shad Restoration Program.
So far, Commission biologists have captured more than 50 3- to 4-inch, hatchery-origin juveniles in the lower Roanoke River, as well as three adult fish with hatchery marks upstream on the spawning grounds.
The appearance of these adult fish indicates that the propagation program is working and that some of the fish are surviving four to five years in the ocean and then returning to where they were stocked.
“The marked adult fish that we collected in 2005 and 2006 are the first hatchery-reared fish that have survived to spawning age that we’ve documented.” said
Currently, only four rivers in North Carolina still support adequate stocks of American shad: the Cape Fear, Neuse, Tar, and Chowan rivers. Because of this, these rivers provide the brood fish used for fry production ...
If anglers suspect they have caught a snakehead, they are asked to keep it, freeze it or place it on ice, and report the capture to the Wildlife Resources Commission at (919) 707-0220.
Biologists do not want anglers re-releasing a suspected snakehead because the species, which is native to Asia, has been known to displace native fishes in waters where it has been illegally introduced. An established snakehead population could reduce the abundance of popular game and nongame species, affecting angler catch rates.
Northern snakehead are often mistaken for the bowfin, but unlike native bowfin, they can have devastating impacts on resident fish communities by competing with them for food and habitat, preying upon them and transmitting disease.
Snakehead species can live out of water for limited periods of time and can survive in degraded habitats that normally would be unsuitable for native fishes. Once established in a body of water, they may become the top predator because of their large size and aggressive nature.
These potential negative impacts on existing fisheries, plus a similar reported sighting in Lake Wylie in 2002, led the Wildlife Commission to pass a regulation in 2002 making it illegal to transport, purchase, possess or sell live snakeheads in North Carolina.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is urging the public to pay close attention to regulations posted at public access boat ramps after the Memorial Day weekend led to an especially high occurrence of parking tickets and vehicles towed.
Over the busy holiday weekend, many Wildlife Resources Commission boat ramps were overflowing with boaters, chief among them public access areas at Oak Island and Snow's Cut. At both locations, individuals were cited for parking in unmarked spaces or for leaving single vehicles in spots reserved for those towing boat trailers.
In response to the problem, the Commission will post larger, more pronounced parking regulations at both access areas. In addition, the Commission will improve signage that designates single ...