Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife Nanticoke River Shad Restoration Project
Initial surveys in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s indicated a remnant stock of American Shad Alosa sapidissima in the Nanticoke drainage. To restore shad numbers, the Nanticoke Shad Hatchery was built in 2003 – 2004 and located adjacent to the river on State-owned property within the Nanticoke Wildlife Area. This hatchery produced all of the American Shad stocked into the upper Nanticoke River basin, 2005 – 2019. The hatchery utilizes fish that are native to the Nanticoke River to preserve genetic integrity. Three day old shad larvae were stocked in the upper Nanticoke River, Deep Creek, and Broad Creek. The culturing provides a “jump start” for a struggling population by protecting the egg stage and early juvenile fry which frequently experience high rates of natural mortality in the wild. It is apparent from our hatchery efforts that many of the eggs expelled do not fertilize. In the wild, all eggs are exposed to predation and fungal infections. All hatchery-bred fish received an oxytetracycline (OTC) mark by larval immersion. A subsample of American Shad caught during juvenile monitoring was examined for OTC marks on the otolith to determine what portion of the juveniles were of hatchery origin and to ascertain survival and recruitment. American Shad will continue to be stocked into the upper Nanticoke River until natural reproduction is determined to be capable of sustaining shad populations, or there are no observed improvements in the number of juveniles or returning adults noted.
Johnny Moore is from the very small town of Scotland, Georgia. I have been fishing most of my life and one of the earliest memories I have is of me in a baby stroller on the bank of a pond while my mom fishes. I have an undergraduate degree in Marine Science from Savannah State University and I moved to Delaware in 2007 to pursue a Masters Degree. While pursuing my Masters Degree, I was lucky enough to land a position with DNREC and I have been happily working for them since then.