Oral Presentation International Conference on River Connectivity (Fish Passage 2018)

Sins of dams over fishes in Albania (#137)

Spase Shumka 1 , Laura Shumka 2 , Catherine Bohne 3 , Fritz Schiemer 4
  1. Department of Biotechnology and Food, Agricultural University of Tirana, Tirana, TIRANA, Albania
  2. Albanian University, Tirana, TIRANA, Albania
  3. Toka, Bajram Curri, Albania
  4. Department of Limnology and Oceanography, University of Wien, Wien, Austria

Five years ago the WWF International Freshwater Program published ‘the seven sins of dam building’, and in light of this general prospective, in this paper we derive a case analyze dedicated to fish species and propose  a fish  based scheme for assessing the ecological integrity of rivers affected by the hydropower construction. At the European scale the ecological integrity has become a primary objective in monitoring programs of surface waters according to the European Water Framework Directive. For this reason the contribution propose a scheme for assessing the ecological integrity of a certain river (in this case surveyed Lumi i Lumes in Kukes, north east Albania under the support of GEF UNDP office Tirana) and Valbona system through analyzing the effects of hydromorphological intervention, dam construction and habitat structure conversion on fish communities. Access to clean water, food, and electricity as a basic need of Albanian citizens, is widely addressed in different political and strategic documents by Albanian Government, while yet considerable number of people face numerous lacking. In the last six decades rivers have been dammed to meet national needs, but construction of dams increased in a dramatic way in the last twenty five years. Following different source of information until November 2017, there have been identified 432 hydropwerplants in Albania, 361 of which are planned to be developed, 27 are in the constructing process and 44 currently exist. Current situation and investments has not bypassed even valuable protected areas, while the trend will bring very soon to a real collapse native and endemic “specific fish species” and give space to “generalist type of species”, aliens and invasive ones. Dozens of species as European eel, Ohrid loach, Skadar loach, Ohrid nasse, Ohrid sprilint, Sturany loach, brown trout, Blalkan barbell, etc., are facing serious threat and appeals for urgent conservation measures.