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Twaite shad

Due to the rarity of this species, the shad (Alosa fallax) has substantial legal protection.

Twaite Shad


  • Listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species as endangered in the UK
  • UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species
  • Listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Annex IVa of the European Commission Habitats Directive
  • It is also protected under schedule 2 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994, and it is illegal to kill, injure or take a shad from the sea under Section 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Appearance: twaite shad are very similar to allis shad. They are members of the herring family and enter freshwater only to spawn. They have a silvery, flattened and typically fish-shaped body. The twaite shad has a more darkened back than the allis shad. 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. Twaite shad have a number of dark spots behind the gill cover, sometimes up to 10 spots. They have an anal fin ray count of 19-23.

British record: 2lb 12oz (British record committee 2015)

Lifespan: four to seven years

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Last Edited: 24 December 2020

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