Somerset’s sea also plays a critical role in providing a home to fish that live in the sea for only a part of their lives, moving up into the upper reaches of rivers to breed and spawn in fresh water. these are the Atlantic salmon, sea trout, allis shad, twaite shad, sea lamprey and river lamprey.
All these species have suffered big declines in their populations in the last hundred years due to a variety of reasons which include pollution, both in the sea and rivers, overfishing and structures such as weirs impeding their progress upriver to their breeding places.
The allis and twaite shad as well as sharing unfamiliar names are both members of the Herring family and grow to between 30 50 cm in length. Both species are very particular about, and faithful to their breeding rivers and also to which parts of the sea they will move out to and use for feeding. this has led, over many thousands of years, to the Severn Sea allis and twaite shad populations being genetically different to other populations of shad in the UK.
Photo © Karen Lloyd