In search of Softmouth Trout and Huchen

The rare, endangered and very shy Softmouth Trout, caught on camera in the Neretva © Arthur de Bruin


This spring, a team of scientists from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna traveled to Bosnia-Herzegovina, specifically to the Neretva and Drina rivers. Both rivers are under extreme threat from hydropower development. The aim of the research weeks was to record the spawning populations of Softmouth Trout and Huchen.

Dr. Kurt Pinter and his team investigated the spawning behavior of the rare Softmouth Trout and whether it also spawns in the Neretva upstream to Ulog and in the Ljuta, a tributary. The Softmouth Trout is a species that only occurs in a few rivers in the Balkans worldwide and whose best populations exist in the Neretva upstream of Konjic. And it is precisely here that numerous dams are planned. In fact, spawning Softmouth trout were detected and eDNA samples were again taken in the Ljuta.

The Drina is one of the most important rivers for the globally endangered Huchen. However, the entire habitat of the Huchen is threatened by hydropower projects. The Drina and all its tributaries are to be dammed or diverted. In order to gather arguments against this, the spawning stocks of Huchen in the Drina upstream of Foca and in the tributaries were recorded in spring.

The results of both studies will be available shortly.

Huchen while spawning. They migrate also into tributaries to spawn in clean gravel beds © Erhard Kraus


The Drina, one of the last strongholds of the globally threatened Huchen © Kurt Pinter


In search of Softmouth Trout in the Neretva © Kurt Pinter


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