Wanted: Alosa fallax - Twaite Shad records from Greece!

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Wanted: Alosa fallax - Twaite Shad records from Greece!


Juvenile Alosa fallax was caught by the HCMR electrofishing team in the Pinios River in summer 2009.

2014 Spring Fish Migration...

Many fish enter fresh water from the sea. Some of these are indeed irregular long-distance migrants ; they travel up rivers to spawn (as salmon do in the Atlantic). In Greece, we have a wonderful anadromous cladid of the herring family that makes this downed shad alosa . But very few people know about this. And there are rarely signs of decline. We have to focus on that.

Twaite Shad or Sardelomana in Greece, can grow up to 50 cm. giant herring. Breeding takes place in May (or possibly April) on the gravel beds of large rivers (especially in northern and western Greece). The eggs hatch soon after spawning and the young fish migrate downstream, usually to fresh water in the summer. Then the fish is transported to the sea and matures after 3 to 4 years.

My personal experience with this breed is very limited. We recorded fish only twice, once in lower Pineos and lower Komsatos in Thessaly (both small juveniles in late summer). But we have collected published records and a few fish stories from several major rivers (Axios, Amvrakikos, etc.). We have a very interesting story about the abundance of "sardine-like" fish falling into the river from various places, but this is not actually confirmed (for example, from the lower Alpheos, etc.). Such secret conversations with an amateur cannot be verified without a photo!!! So we need to find more documents. My HCMR colleague Yorgos Chatzinikolou obtained the image shown in this post in late April 2013 from the Euros tributary near Didymotico. This species is known to migrate from the sea to Euros to spawn, and people congregate to dry (in large numbers) in the Ardas River (near Castanij). The three photos we post here prove that the species still exists. And the evidence of the existence of this species is very important to determine the conservation status of this rare animal in Greece.

A large consortium of Greek researchers is currently working to collect data on 72 fish species from the European Community's Nature Surveillance Project , and white shad is one of these important species.

If anyone thinks they have seen or heard of this giant "mother sardine" ( sardelomana in Greek), please contact us as soon as possible. And please try to find a photo , please indicate the exact date and location, number of specimens, specific condition and size of the fish.

Remember: these fish are currently suffering from humans as man-made barriers such as dams and reservoirs prevent natural migration. Our "dams" and river engineering often completely close off spawning grounds. Fish river barriers are sometimes random and can be recreated; think around fish ladders or river bridge foundations, road crossings, river exit points, river control channels. This human-made barrier to river connectivity is one of the most important and underappreciated elements that undermines the natural integrity of river ecosystems. Start thinking about Cerdelomon . 

In mid-spring 2013, adult Falx alosa were caught at the breeding site of the auros .

In mid-spring 2013, an adult Falx alosa was caught alive at the breeding site of the aurora .

It is important to measure the total length (TL) of each fish in the photos (same fish as above).


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