The goal of this project is the re-introduction of allis shad in the River Rhine System. This large member of the herring family migrated in huge numbers hundreds of kilometers upstream and was once an important species for the commercial inland fishery.
Allis shad grow up to 70 cm in total length and reach a total weight of up to 4 kg. At the beginning of the 20th century the Rhine shad population collapsed. Reasons for the decline included over fishing, water pollution and the construction of migration barriers. Today only a few shad are observed in the River Rhine and large populations only exist in France.
With the help of the Life Project the stepwise re-introduction of this extraordinary fish species shall take place. Five million shad larvae will be stocked in the Rhine System in the next 4 years. All fish will be produced in France and marked before stocking to analyze the success of the project. The "Stiftung Wasserlauf", a regional environment fund, is responsible for the implementation of project activities and has employed the shad expert Dr. Andreas Scharbert for this task. The office of Dr. Scharbert is in the Aquazoo Duesseldorf in Germany.
Out of 229 European Life Project proposals the allis shad project was one of 61 projects selected for 50% funding through the European Commission. The Federal State Office for Nature, the Environment and Consumer Protection in North Rhine Westphalia, Department 26, has the project leadership. The project has a term of 4 years and will terminate at the end of 2010. The project budget is about 1 million Euros. Besides the Federal State of North Rhine Westphalia, Germany, other partners are co-financing the project. These include HIT Environment Fund, Rheinfischereigenossenschaft NRW, Ministry of Environment of the Federal State Hessen, Germany, the Dutch Sportfisher Organization and research partners in France.
The LIFE Allis shad project officially ended with the beginning of 2011. For information of the broad public a layman's report was produced, which provides an overview over the LIFE projects backgrounds, objectives and achievements. The layman's report can be henceforth downloaded here: