Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Shad, American

© Diane Rome Peebles
Shad, American Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Atlantic & White Shad U.S. Atlantic Wild

American Shad, Wild, U.S. Atlantic

American shad populations are at an all-time low as a result of overfishing and loss of important freshwater spawning habitat. Because the species shows no signs of recovery, consumers should avoid shad.

Consumer Note

American shad are sold as filets as well as roe. Both are available for a short period in the spring when adult shad return to spawn in freshwater streams.


American shad are born in freshwater streams from the St. Lawrence River in Canada to Florida. As adults, they migrate to the open ocean. Like salmon, they return to the streams where they were born to spawn.

Shad are impacted not only by fishing, but also by severe degradation of their freshwater spawning habitat. Populations of American shad are severely depleted. Many are at an all-time low and continue to decline.

Seafood Watch recommends that consumers avoid purchasing American shad, including shad roe.

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