That one could “walk drishod on the backs” of schools of salmon, shad, and other fishes moving up Atlantic coast rivers was a not uncommon kind of description of their migratory runs during early Colonial times. Accounts tell of awe-inspiring numbers of spawners pushing their way upriver, the waters “running silver,” to complete life cycles that once replenished critical marine fisheries along the Eastern Seaboard. This is a hugely important, fascinating, and unique look at the fish of North America whose history and life-cycles and conservation challenges are poorly understood. Despite these primordial abundances, over the centuries these stocks were so stressed that virtually all are now severely depressed, with many biologically or commercially extinct and some simply forgotten. Running Silver will tell the story of the past, present and future of these sea-river fish. This important book will elevate public consciousness of the contrasts between the historical and the present to show the enormous legacy that has already been lost and to help inspire efforts to save what remains.
Drawing on the author's thirty-year career as a scientist and educator with a passion for the native river fish of the North East, Running Silver tells the story of these endangered fish with a mix of research, historical accounts, anecdotes, personal experience, interviews, and images.
John Waldman is a professor at the City University of New York and a leading voice in aquatic conservation biology. He is the author of the award-winning Heartbeats in the Muck: the History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor (Lyons), among other books.