KIDS: Road to State Sumbol

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The Road to State Symbol


In the 2003 Legislative Session, Representative Faith McMahon* proposed a House Bill 5442 to designate the American Shad as the State Fish of Connecticut. In her testimony, she stated, "It is important to recognize the importance of the shad both in Connecticut's history and its economy. The shad is as much a part of the history and traditions of Connecticut as the Connecticut River. . . .as a source of food and commerce for our state. As our state has changed from the time of the Native Americans and the early settlers to the colonial era, to Civil War era and the 20th Century, the shad has run in our rivers and through the Long Island Sound every spring, heralding the end of winter and the renewal and replenishing of the earth." Representative McMahon taught in Windsor for 35 years and that is where her interest in, and knowledge of, shad began.

{Representative Faith McMahon with shad picture}

Representative Faith McMahon with American Shad Picture

Representative McMahon's bill was the result of efforts begun at least as far back as 1995, to designate the shad as the State fish. At that time, then Representative Mary U. Eberle of Bloomfield championed the cause of the shad because " is resilient, it is persistent and it has shown plain old Yankee ingenuity in overcoming the obstacles that stopped the salmon." 

At that time, the shad and the Atlantic Salmon were two of the three fish nominated for the honor of being the State Fish - the brown trout was the third. Legislative actions included the taking of testimony from backers of the three fish, and approving a bill to allow Connecticut school children to study the issue and participate in a non-binding vote for their favorite fish.

Many opinions were given, both for and against, regarding each of the three fish. The debate was finally settled by the adoption of the following law.

House Bill No. 5442

Public Act No. 03-41


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) The American shad, Alosa sapidissima, shall be the state fish.

Approved May 23, 2003

Welcome the American shad, the Connecticut State Fish.


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Content Last Modified on 9/10/2010 7:44:49 AM