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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 marine fisheries along the Eastern Seaboard. Over the centuries these stocks were so stressed that virtually all are now severely depressed, with many extinct and some simply forgotten. Running Silver is an important and fascinating look at the fish whose history, life-cycles and conservation challenges are so poorly understood.
Drawing on the author's thirty-year career as scientist and educator, Running Silver tells the story of the past, present and future of these sea-river fish through research, historical accounts, personal anecdotes, interviews, and images. Running Silver will detail the enormous legacy that has already been lost and try to inspire efforts to save what remains.
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, among other books.
"Like Thoreau, John Waldman can hear the fishes cry. His fine new book teaches us how to hear them, too. And, how we might save them and remake our rivers into vibrant natural places once again."
– Paul Galley, Hudson Riverkeeper
"Running Silver is an informative and fascinating history of the migratory salmon, shad, herring, and other runs that once swarmed the rivers and estuaries of the Atlantic coast. Most important, this book explains what we can do to restore these fisheries to their former abundance. A great read and important blueprint for action."
– Bruce Babbitt, former Secretary of the Interior
"Waldman's account of the historical and biological disaster we've spawned is a critically important study of human greed and carelessness, but also a blueprint for the rescue of our once silver-filled rivers."
– Richard Ellis, author of Tuna: A Love Story and Swordfish
"Running Silver is a deeply important book that highlights the ancient exchange of biomass from land to sea and back again-through our finned creatures. [...] an impassioned plea, a call to action, a book that everyone should know about and read."
– James Prosek, artist and writer, author of Eels: An Exploration from New Zealand to the Sargasso of the World's most Mysterious Fish