IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Atlantic shad, also commonly called American shad, Alosa sapidissima, is an anadromous fish in of the genus Alosa (shads or river herring), in the important food family Clupeidae (which includes herring, shads, sardines). There are five other species of shad in North America, however A. sapidissima is more closely related to European shad than any of these, and is thought to have evolved from an ancestor of the European radiation. Atlantic shad spend most of their lives at sea, eating plankton and maturing in large schools; after 3-5 years they make a spring migration to spawn in to their freshwater birth river (some travel up to 600 km upstream). Most shad south of North Carolina die after spawning, however shad residing in more northern regions tend to migrate back to the ocean and return to spawn again in subsequent years. The native range of the American shad historically included every river system from southern Labrador, Canada, to Northern Florida, USA. Native Americans taught colonists about this important resource and the seemingly endless shad population plays an important part in American history. Overfishing, dam construction and pollution have caused significant long-term decline of shad along the Eastern seaboard, and populations are of increasing concern. The American Shad Fishery Management Plan brings government and private agencies together restore depleted shad stocks by providing passages around dams, restricting harvests and protecting habitats. Shad were introduced into the Pacific Northwest (Columbia and Sacramento rivers) and Atlantic shad is found now from Baja to the Kamchatka peninsula. Considered a tasty fish for their meat and roe (sapidissima translates to delicious), shad are high in Omega 3 oils and low in mercury and other toxins. They are a popular angling fish, commonly weighing in at 0.9-1.4Kg, and about 76 cm long.

(Faria, Weiss and Alexandrino 2006; Kocik 2007; Marine bio; US Fish and Wildlife Service 2011; Wikipedia 2012)


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