National and local stakeholders, representing central and local government, Protected Area staff, CSOs, local communities and the private sector in Prespa, in North Macedonia, got together on the occasion of the World Biodiversity Day, to express their unequivocal support for the conservation of the endemic Prespa Trout (Salmo peristericus).
Four rivers in the Prespa basin, Braychinska, Kranska and Leva rivers in North Macedonia, and Agios Germanos River in Greece, host small and isolated populations of this species. A recent study covering the rivers in North Macedonia, complemented and confirmed the 2006 IUCN Red List Assessment that assigned this endemic species to the Endangered category.
Conducted by the non-governmental organization Balkan Foundation for Sustainable Development, through a grant from PONT and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the study documented a range of threats, including habitat fragmentation and poor habitat quality, due to domestic wastewater pollution, operation of small power plants, water abstraction, and poaching. In combination with the restricted distribution and small, isolated populations, there is a high risk of extinction of the Prespa trout in the Macedonian part of Prespa.
Some of the methods to assess the conservation status of the Prespa trout used in the study were presented to the local stakeholders at several locations along Braychinska River and Kranska River, on 21 and 22 May 2021.
The representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, Public Institution Pelister National Park, Municipality of Resen, local CSOs, fishermen, small hydropower plants operators, and local communities expressed their interest to participate in a structured process to develop a common Conservation Action Plan for this flagship species.