Twaite shad are a feature of the Severn Estuary Special Area of Conservation, and the river population (eggs) is one of the attributes. The aim of this project was to enable us to verify if spawning is happening at six potential locations identified in the 2014 habitat survey in the River Teme. Sampling will took place in the identified locations, and shad eggs identified and sent to CEFAS for genetic analysis to determine if they are Twaite shad, Allis shad or a hybrid. It also attempted to carry out a population assessment to inform condition.
This survey contributed to the Environment Agency LIFE bid mentioned above, confirming that Twaite shad were spawning in the river Teme, with more spawning occurring just below the barrier to migration. The contractors collected 100 eggs for genetic analysis, confirming that Twaite shad, hybrids of Alis and Twaite shad and possibly one individual of Alis shad were spawning in the River Teme, and contributing to the SAC population. It has delivered a baseline for spawning extent within this site and will contribute to the condition assessment of the Severn Estuary SAC. The survey also provided a baseline count of Sea Lamprey Redds in the River Teme at the sampling sites, which will also contribute to the condition assessment. The project ran smoothly, in particular because the contractor has a PhD student on site monitoring the timing of spawning, which was they key to timing the survey correctly.