High temperatures, a lack of precipitation and competition for water from hydroelectricity is killing record numbers of fish is Switzerland, reported RTS.
According to the Swiss Fishing Federation (SFF), we are currently witnessing fish mortality at a historic level with some species facing the threat of extinction. Across the Swiss plateau and the southern side of the Jura fishermen are reporting high rates of dry riverbeds and dead fish, said the Federation. It’s a real disaster, said Roberto Zanetti, the Federation’s president. Sadly, there is no other way to describe it.
When the water temperature reaches 20 degrees the fish are put under stress. Above 23 degrees the situation becomes critical. And beyond 25 degrees their life is in danger.
The SFF is pointing the finger at the hydroelectricity industry. Fish require a sufficient minimum water flow. However, the hydroelectricity industry, with its focus on producing electricity, is neglecting the fish. Residual (minimum) water flows need to be higher to protect the fish. The SFF said that it is opposed to even the slightest drop of river water being used for hydro electricity. Using river water to produce energy, leaving even less for the fish, should not even be considered during this difficult period, said the Federation. The short term economic benefits will be outweighed by irreversible ecological damage.
The SFF said urgent actions must be taken. Cantonal authorities must put in place restrictions on water use and ensure habitats that fish shelter in have sufficient fresh water.