A member of the herring family, alose or shad is also known as river herring because it swims up rivers to spawn—the Loire, Ardour, Garonne, Dordogne and Isle are its most important habitats in Europe. Today it is endangered; since 2008, fishing has been banned in the Garonne and Dordogne. Overfishing, dams, climate change, drought and the voracious silures are to blame.
There are two kinds, the grande alose (or allis shad, Alosa alosa) and the smaller alose feinte (or twaite shad, Alosa fallax fallax). The French like to bake them stuffed with sorrel (alose à l'oseille) as the herb helps to dissolve the bones.
Image by Hans Hillewaert, Creative Commons License