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Presentation TitlePOSTER: Hickory Shad (Alosa mediocris) vs. American Shad (Alosa sapidissima): Comparing Aging Techniques for Congeneric Species
Presenting Author NameSamantha Dowiarz
Presenting Author AffiliationEast Carolina University
Presenting Author EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
Presentation Number6
Unit MeetingTidewater Chapter
General Topicanadromous fish aging techniques
Type of PresentationPoster

Hickory Shad (Alosa mediocris) are anadromous fish that span the eastern United States and ascend watersheds from the Susquehanna River in Maryland to the St. John’s River in Florida to spawn in the spring. Both the Hickory Shad and its relative, the American Shad (Alosa sapidissima), comprise important commercial and recreational fisheries throughout their ranges, especially in North Carolina where they represent a multi-million-dollar sport fishery. Exactly how similar these two species are in life history is unknown, but the two species are managed together federally by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. American Shad and Hickory Shad are iteroparous, or have multiple spawning cycles throughout a lifetime, and to justify this life history characteristic for American Shad, a study validated spawning years through a scale aging protocol. Since an aging protocol for Hickory Shad scales has never been published in the primary literature, a Hickory Shad aging technique will be developed and compared to the American Shad aging protocol. A sex-specific length-at-age distribution will be created based on the fork length (FL) and age, and the length data provided from the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission will be included to create an age-length key for each North Carolina watershed. If Hickory Shad life history mirrors that of American Shad, then they can continue to be managed together in state and federal fishery management plans. However, if the life histories differ substantially, then agencies may want to consider managing these two species under separate management plans.