Sturgeons, eels… Migratory fish from France in poor condition

Sturgeon juvenile.

Will we ever stop seeing migrating fish in our rivers? ? On this eve of World Day dedicated to them, the National Federation of Fishing in France (FNPF) sounded the alarm in a manifesto: of the nine species of migratory fish present in France, five are threatened, three of which (sturgeon, eel and shad) are endangered. critically endangered ». Three others (Atlantic shad, Mediterranean shad and salmon) are near-threatened ».

Between 1970 and 2016, European populations of amphiphaline fish (i.e. fish that live between fresh and salt water) fell by 93 %. The causes of this collapse are multiple and synergistic ». The FNPF climate change, which reduces the flow of water, promotes the appearance of certain diseases and affects the migration and reproduction cycle of these fish. Among the other culprits: the degradation of aquatic environments, water pollution by pesticides, endocrine disruptors and polychlorinated biphenyls (pcb), poaching… The FNPF also evokes dams, which hinder or even block the movement of migrating fish. We find on average 1 every 5 kilometers in French rivers: a difficulty insurmountable »according to the Federation.

Solution: restoring the ecological continuity of the rivers

The situation is alarming »but not irreversible », she says, however. The Federation recommends that the State work to restore the ecological continuity of the rivers, so that the fish can more easily reach their growth, resting and reproduction areas. According to her, this could allow a return fast » fish in French rivers. As an example, she cites the removal of a structure on the Hem River in Pas-de-Calais, which would have allowed sea trout and sea lamprey to recolonize the area. Another avenue: safeguarding and preserving habitats. The Federation also demands a general moratorium on eel fishing, for a period of five years.

These measures could have beneficial effects on ecosystems as a whole. Migratory fish are species called umbrellas »recalls the Federation: By protecting and restoring the natural environments they occupy, we act positively on all other species. »

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