BiH was emphasized as the country with the largest number of preserved rivers and fish populations in the Balkans, as stated by Jelena Ivanic from the Center for Environment of Banja Luka at the presentation of the study “Endangered fish species of Balkans and distribution and threats due to development of hydro energy”.
This document was presented by the Center for Environment of Banja Luka, on the occasion of the International Day of Migratory Fish Species, and Ivanic also noted that Drina River and Neretva River are our most valuable rivers, but the construction of dozens of hydroelectric power plants are planned on both of them.
The data from this study showed that 113 endangered fish species live in the rivers between Slovenia and Greece, and that their number is higher here than anywhere else in Europe.
“Our rivers are one of the 25 global hotspots of biodiversity, with numerous preserved habitats and a high rate of endemism. Therefore, it is our obligation to preserve it,” said Professor at the Faculty of Biology, the University of Belgrade, Predrag Simonovic.
“The development of hydro energy represents a threat for 10 % of all kinds of river fish in Europe. Therefore, the hydroelectricity is the largest threat to our continental fish fauna,” said Prof. Dr. Steven Weiss.
Three rivers in the Balkans have the largest fish diversity: Neretva, Drina and Moraca. They represent a habitat for more than 50 endangered species from the “Red List”, which clearly shows that they are among the most important rivers in Europe.