The Wasserlauf fundation
The Wasserlauf Foundation has developed out of the NRW Migratory Fish program, started in 1998. The fundation aims to encourage the return of migratory fish species and the further development of the water bodies in the german region of North Rhine-Westphalia. A photographic report of a visit to the control station in Buisdorf and a interview to the fundation - Special thanks for the interview to Mr.Armin Nemitz and Mrs. Marion Meitzner
EFA: Your initiative started in 1998, what was the trigger and what is the status at the time
DFP:The Diadromous Fish Project is a State specific continuation of the Rhine action plan "Salmon 2000". It includs by word other diadromous species such as eel, shad or houting. For salmon we established a pool of returners that is mainly a restocking reared. In some tributaries there is a regulary natural reproduction but its part for smoltproduction is less than 25 %. This is caused by the limits that our rivers have due to human activities during the last centuries and it is one of our main goals to restore these rivers within the Water Frame Work directive.
EFA: What do you stock, salmon eggs or parr ? Does the stock still takes place regularly every year ?
DFP: We restock a mix of summer parrs, smolts and 1+ parrs every year. Main part have summerparrs around 1 g.
EFA: I have visited the station in Buisdorf and I was impressed to see the Salmo salar in central Europen waters.
Can you give your view on the purity of our waters and the trend ?
DFP: Our main problems in freshwater are still: connectivity, siltation, nutrification, bad hydromorphology, smolt losses through turbine passage, and in-river-fisheries in the Rhinedelta area.
We still work on these issues, but it is definitely a task for generations
EFA: what is the number of salmon that return each year, is it being increasing throughout the years ? What was the numbers of salmon in 2010 ?
DFP:Since 2000 we monitor about 250 and 550 salmon a year in NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia). Our registration rate is about 50 %. In 2010 we counted around 400. There is an increasing number since 2000, but this is due to restocking improvements during this period. We learned what are the most successful restocking strategy is and have more returner by nearly the same (or even less) restocking numbers.
EFA: does the fishway work ? Scientists report that the fish tend to go where
the flow of the water is stronger, avoiding fishways, what is your experience on this matter ?
DFP: We can confirm this.
In NRW we have a kind of technical guide for fishway constructions called “Handbuch Querbauwerke”. It gives us geometric and hydraulic calibration values for fishway contructions. The fishways, that are closed to these values have good chances to work. But of course there are many fishways that were built in the past, that don’t fit to these values. We have to work on this.
At Buisdorf, where our monitoring station is located, we improved the fishway with several technical supplements and we achieved a rate of 85 % for all species and around 50 % for salmon. The rest of salmon run uptstream by jumping over the weir or during highflood periods.
EFA: by reading your goals, I must say that they match with the ones of tens of thousends and more other fly anglers in Europe.
How do anglers support such initiatives ?
DFP: They still do by menpower as well by sponsoring our project within their clubs or associations. Some of them privately by purchasing “Wanderfisch Aktien” (Migratory fish shares).
EFA: how is the project financed and can you tell us about your Wanderfisch-Aktien (Migratory fish shares)
DFP: The project is financed by state taxes, EU-funding as well as private partnership. By purchasing migratory fish shares “Wanderfischaktien” you help establish the work of the Wasserlauf Foundation. Even for 50 Euros you can acquire a share, and so make an important contribution to the Wasserlauf Foundation and its work. The shares are decorative and will be made out in your name or the name of your organisation. They are a nice eyecatcher to hang on the wall, and are also suitable as gifts or charitable donations to friends or business partners.
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