Shad Symposium

Shad Symposium 2022

We were proud to host the 2022 Shad Symposium from the banks of the River Severn in Worcester, which saw over 100 delegates from across Europe join together to share exciting findings, research and news from the frontlines of shad conservation.

This technical conference presented many new scientific findings from our Unlocking the Severn shad monitoring programme gained over the last 5 years.  Additionally, the symposium also featured a range of talks from invited guests covering the latest shad research from across Europe, and insights from other river restoration projects.


The Shad Symposium took place in Worcester over two days, on Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 May 2022. The programme of talks were held in the mornings starting at 9am at Worcestershire County Cricket Club, right by the River Severn.  The Unlocking the Severn team also arranged for delegates to visit not just one, but three fish passes built as part of the project.

The Programme

Our delegates were from a range of fisheries science/management; conservation organisations; universities and research institutions; environmental consultants; policy makers including Government departments, local authorities; and organisations responsible for the reporting and management of shad as part of the Habitats Directive from across Europe.

We had a wide-ranging programme of around 20 talks which covered a variety of topics drawn from the themes of: freshwater migration, life at sea, management and restoration of shad, threats to shad, and monitoring techniques.  All of our speakers delivered excellent presentations, many of which included new, “hot-off-the-press” data which will help progress the conservation of this endangered species.

For more details about the talks and speakers, you can download the version of the programme below.

Diglis Fish Pass and Viewing Gallery Field Trip

Delegates joined the Unlocking the Severn team to visit Diglis fish pass to see the largest deep vertical slot pass in England and Wales, built as part of the project. We also took this opportunity to show our visitors the underwater viewing gallery, where many of them saw fish, and several lucky delegates even saw a shad pass through!

This trip also included a tour of the historic lock island and a chance to learn more about the history of the Severn navigation and the heritage legacy of Unlocking the Severn.

Bevere & Holt Fish Passes Field Trip

At Bevere delegates had the chance to see the only column pass constructed as part of Unlocking the Severn – pictured here.

At the deep vertical slot pass at Holt, delegates learnt more about the complex challenges posed by a site with no land access where all materials and machinery had to be transported by boat.


Pre-Recorded Presentations

In the run up to the Shad Symposium, we asked a few individuals that were closely involved in the development of several key areas of the project to pre-record a talk that would provide our delegates with a good overview of the Unlocking the Severn project.

You can watch these videos below!

From design to build – the challenges of constructing 3 large Deep Vertical Slot fish passes

Richard Leigh, Lead Concept Engineer at Canal & River Trust, takes us on the journey from design to build and focuses on some of the challenges faced when building the deep vertical slot fish passes.

From design to build – the challenges of constructing a Nature like column bypass channel

Richard Leigh, Lead Concept Engineer at Canal & River Trust, talks about the construction of nature like column bypass channel during the Unlocking the Severn project – which is the type of fish pass you can see at Bevere in Worcestershire.

How the fish pass designs were chosen for the River Severn

Delivered by Toby Coe, Technical Director at Fishtek, we find out more about the decision making process for choosing the fish pass designs along the River Severn.

How the fish pass designs were chosen for the River Teme

Paul Herickx, Senior Project Manager with the Environment Agency, explains which fish pass designs were chosen for the River Teme and why.

The importance of citizen scientists and community engagement in Unlocking the Severn

Alice Deans, Volunteering Officer and Alice Fallon, Head of Engagement at Severn Rivers Trust provides us some insight into the different components of the engagement activities and it’s vital role as part of the Unlocking the Severn project.

Symposium presentations

Our speakers have kindly given consent for us to share their presentations. We have converted the files into PDF’s and combined the presentations into their relevent Sessions.

Session 1 – Freshwater Migration

Session 2 – Freshwater Migration (continued)

Session 3 – Shad Monitoring Techniques

Session 4 – Shad Monitoring Techniques (continued)

Session 5 – Shad Management (continued)

Session 6 – Shad Threats

View across the River Severn of New Road Cricket Ground, where the conference took place in their modern conferencing facilities.

View of the 100m long deep vertical slot fish pass at Diglis Worcester.  This is located just a short walk along the river from the conference venue.

Aerial view of Diglis fish pass and weir.

Monitoring scientists catching twaite shad in a trap for acoustic tagging, at Upper Lode Weir on the River Severn at Tewkesbury.

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