Our group of allies is increasing! Scientists in our network not only lend their own data but also use their independent voices to advocate for the protection of rivers.
This study proves that the rivers in the Balkans constitute Europe’s fish sanctuary: 113 endangered fish species find habitat in the rivers between Slovenia and Greece – more than in any other region in Europe. Fish expert Dr. Steven Weiss from the University of Graz and his co-authors also assessed the consequences for the fish fauna, if the projected hydropower plants in the Balkans were to be constructed. The result is alarming: up to 49 freshwater fish species are faced with either the threat of extinction or loss of between 50 and 100% of their Balkan distribution. Of these, eleven endemic species are threatened with extinction, seven will become critically endangered, and the number of endangered species will double to twenty-four. For 68 of 69 endemic species, habitat losses are estimated between 30 and 100%, resulting in increased levels of endangerment for essentially the entire endemic fauna. Additionally, the four migratory sturgeon species would essentially lose their potential for rehabilitation in the lower Danube if additional dams were constructed there.