Today's Media Monday post features Frank LoBuono/Sojourner Productions circa 1990 Shad Fishing the Hudson feature for "Metro Magazine". Hudson River Maritime Museum thanks Frank LoBuono/Sojourner Productions for allowing us to share this video.
"Since the beginning of time, in early Spring, the Shad have made their annual trek from the ocean to the fresh waters of the upper Hudson River to spawn. And, for centuries before Europeans set foot on this continent, the Native Americans were on the banks of the Hudson to harvest them. Eventually, Europeans replaced the Native Americans throughout the region. However, they continued the tradition of harvesting the Shad every Spring.
In fact, at one point, there were hundreds of small shad boats fishing the river, from Fort Lee, NJ to Poughkeepsie, NY. They took them by the thousands to be sold mostly at fine Manhattan restaurants. Many of these boats were operated by families who passed the tradition down through generations.
People forget that in the 1970’s the Hudson nearly died from the ravages of pollution. It became unsafe to eat fish taken from the river. This decimated the industry and most of the boats disappeared. Eventually, the EPA cleaned up the river to the point that it was safe once again to harvest SOME fish, including the shad.
One of the families that had made a tradition of fishing for shad were the Gabrielson’s of Nyack. The father and son team returned to the Hudson year after year to claim their prize. It was backbreaking work, but they wouldn’t miss it for anything.
TKR Cables “Eye On Rockland” decided to feature the shad fishing Gabrielson family and their time on the Hudson as Spring returned to the river. This is their story."
Click on the button to listen to more Hudson River Commercial Fishermen Oral Histories.
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This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
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