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Allis shad

The Allis shad (Alosa alosa) is a member of the herring family and enters freshwater only to spawn. Read more about this protected fish.

Allis shad


  • Listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species
  • Rare and endangered in the UK
  • UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species
  • Allis shad is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Annexes II and V of the European Commission Habitats Directive. It is protected under Schedules 5 and 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • Due to the rarity of this species, the shad is subject to substantial protection. It is illegal to kill, injure or take a shad from the sea under Section 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).

Appearance: Allis shad are very similar to twaite shad. They are members of the herring family and enter freshwater only to spawn. They have a silvery, flattened and typically fish-shaped body. A thin fatty membrane covers the front and rear parts of the eye, and the lower jaw fits into a notch in the upper jaw. They have a deeply forked tail with large scales at the base.

Unlike the twaite shad, the allis shad usually only has one dark spot behind the gill cover. On occasions they can have two spots here and its always best to check the anal fin ray count which is 25-26 on allis shad and 19-23 on twaite shad.

British record: 4lb 12oz 7 dms (British record committee 2015)

Lifespan: four to seven years

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Last Edited: 24 December 2020

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