For every participation in an Lure Masters online tournament, we donate a baby salmon to the European salmon project!
The reintroduction of the Atlantic salmon
The reintroduction of the Atlantic salmon in the Rhine has developed into one of the largest international species protection projects in the neighboring countries. Hundreds of thousands of young salmon of various ages and sizes are stocked in the Rhine tributaries every year.
As a result of these intensive stocking measures, several thousand spawning salmon return to the Rhine every year. Successful natural spawnings have also been documented for around 10 years where an ascent to the spawning grounds has been made possible again.
A great example of active nature conservation around the elaborate efforts of the salmon population to enable sustainable growth and reproduction. We will inform you about the use of our support!
Contribution by Timo Seufert
Up until around 1900, more than a million salmon probably migrated up the Rhine and from there also into the Main and its tributaries, such as the Schwarzbach. The salmon, also called “Salm”, was one of the most important “bread fish” for professional fishermen and fed many people in the Rhine-Main area. Due to the expansion of the Rhine and above all, the construction of weirs, barrages and hydroelectric power plants, the stocks collapsed massively in the 20th century and ultimately collapsed completely. The reason for this was the massive construction, which made it increasingly difficult or impossible to reach the spawning grounds. The last known evidence from the Main was documented in Flörsheim in 1918.
The reintroduction of salmon is one of the largest species protection projects in the riparian states of the Rhine. The salmon project 2020 (formerly Lachs2000) has been supported by the state of Hessen since 1995. Since 2007, our Schwarzbach has been one of the german waters that are looked after as part of the project. A suitability test was initially carried out in 2007 – 2008, before the stocking began in 2009. In addition to smolt controls (the stage that migrates in spring is referred to as smolt) and spawning pit mapping, returnees and brood controls have recently been taking place. These are partly on a voluntary basis with the help of our association members.
The young salmon find excellent growing conditions in our stream. In addition to sufficient habitats and food, the Schwarzbach is also characterized by its constant water flow all year round. Most of the juvenile fish in the stream come from stocking. As early brood, the fish called Parr (stage after climbing out of the gravel gap system to smoltification) are distributed in suitable noise. After one or two years in the brook, the small salmon turn silver, a sure sign of smolitification. The fish now begin to migrate from a temperature of approx. 8 ° C and with a size of approx. 12 – 20 cm. After 1 – 4 years in the sea, they return to their growing waters as 60 – 100 cm (rarely up to 140 cm) tall individuals to spawn in late autumn.
Our salmon already face some dangers when they migrate into the sea. In addition to the natural predators in our rivers, the cormorant and anthropogenic disturbances such as hydropower plants are the greatest threats when people migrate. But even if these dangers have been successfully overcome, further dangers await the adult salmon. The illegal catch by professional fishermen, black anglers and the weir systems in the Main are the greatest dangers during the spawning ascent.
Despite the still existing adversities and an almost impossible spawning rise, the first successes in the Schwarzbach have already been celebrated. Natural reproduction of the salmon in the Schwarzbach has already been established. In addition, an adult salmon roe was detected in the Schwarzbach for the first time in 2016. So it is time for the continuity of the Main to be driven forward and improved so that even more salmon can return to the Schwarzbach soon! And not only the salmon benefits from it, but also all other middle-distance hikers in the Main such as the nose, barbel, roach and many more. Incidentally, these fish can also be found permanently or temporarily in our beautiful stream!