As the cold winter winds blow in and docks are pulled from marinas along the estuary, there is end-of-season work to be done for the people lucky enough to call the river their workplace. For the members of the NYS DEC Fisheries Unit that work includes retrieving the equipment they have deployed in the Hudson as part of their Atlantic Sturgeon and American Shad Study.
For many seasons now, Riverkeeper has assisted with the equipment retrieval, putting the muscle of the patrol boat, and captain, to good use.
Mid-season we assist with the retrieval of the hydrophones and moorings, from which data is downloaded for analysis.
This important study helps us to better protect two fish species which are currently in decline in the Hudson and elsewhere - the Atlantic Sturgeon and the American Shad. To better understand the spawning habitats, migratory patterns, and more, the Fisheries Unit catch the fish with nets, collect biological data, tag them, and then release them back into the river. Their tags then transmit information on their movement to the stationary equipment in the river and a boat-based mobile hydrophone system.
Each fish is named after someone famous (a rock star, a character from Harry Potter or Star Wars) which we agree befits their splendor!
The largest sturgeon caught and tagged to date was a 7.9 foot, 230 pound, female. Wow.
For more on these rock stars of the river, and the two-legged rock stars who monitor them and plan for their future, check out - http://www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/53534.html