New hydroelectric power schemes in the Balkans are threatening the habitat for the Danube Salmon.
The Danube salmon or Huchen (Hucho hucho) is a large species of freshwater fish and can grow to around 1.5m in length and more than 50kg in weight. It can live for 30 years, but its last hunting grounds in the Danube Basin and the Balkans are being threatened by plans for new hydroelectric power plants on Balkan rivers, a green NGO has warned.
The Austrian-based environmental organisation Riverwatch, raised the alarm about the biggest trout species in the world at a press conference in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana in March 2015. Riverwatch has conducted extensive research by 18 scientists from seven countries, on stocks of the fish in rivers running from Slovenia in the north to Montenegro in the south.
"This fish is a good indicator of the health of our rivers," explains Steven Weiss, an American scientist based in Graz in Austria, and one of the authors of a new study warning that the building of new dams could wipe out many of the fish. "They need a lot of space, fast flowing clean water and a very specific habitat to spawn in order to maintain a self-sustaining population".
Several stretches of river are already interrupted by artificial falls and weirs between 1.2-3.5m in height built for the existing hydroelectric power plants. Plans are now being developed to create culverts and rock ramps to try and alleviate the negative impact on the Danube Salmon's habitat posed by the new hydroelectric schemes.
For further information of FGS's fish deflection systems that can be used to guide fish in front of hydroelectric power plants, please contact David Lambert, FGS's General Manager