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Salmon coming to the Rhine

Nov 13, 2013
From the Atlantic to the Alps: by 2020 the Rhine will once again be a home to salmon. These migratory fish will then be able to swim unhindered all the way to Basel -short-term by unconventional means where necessary.
Image caption:
Mehrere Kraftwerke verhindern den Auf- und Abstieg des Lachses im Rhein. © Roland Zumbuehl / wikimediacommons
Until some 100 years ago the Rhine was the largest salmon river in Europe, home to some one million salmon, with the fish also spawning in tributaries such as the Thur, Kander, Lütschine and Reuss rivers. Migration was subsequently prevented by the building of power stations in particular, and in the 1950s salmon became extinct in Switzerland. That is now set to change.
In October 2013 at the Rhine Conference of Ministers, Germany, France, Liechtenstein, Austria, Switzerland and the European Union affirmed that from 2020 salmon should be able to migrate unhindered from the Rhine delta in the Netherlands all the way up to Basel. The largest obstacles are the eight power stations between Strasbourg in France and Basel in Switzerland. The salmon will henceforth be able to get past two of these by means of a "fish taxi". The ministers also agreed that no new obstacles are to be built on those waters where salmon are due to return thanks to the joint "Rhine 2020" programme. They also see a backlog demand in safely navigating the descent of the river, as numerous animals perish in power station turbines on their way back to the sea.
Several power stations prevent salmon from swimming freely up and down the Rhine.
Sources and further information: www.news.admin.ch/message/index (de), http://bazonline.ch/basel/region (de), www.iksr.org/index , www.wwf.ch/de/projekte/schweiz (de), www.tagesanzeiger.ch/wissen/natur (de)