Swiss fish of the year in deep waters

The souffia struggles for its survival Naturmuseum Solothurn

Just 12 months after being named Fish of the Year 2010, the souffia is even more threatened than originally thought.

This content was published on December 31, 2010 - 10:26 and agencies

As the Swiss Fishing Association announced on Thursday, the souffia – also known as the Western Vairone – has already disappeared from some places.

The association chose the small, thin fish during the Year of Biodiversity to highlight its struggle for survival and the depletion of fish stocks.

The souffia (telestes souffia) is a ray-finned species mainly found in central and mediterranean European countries. To a lesser extent it also occurs in eastern Europe. Measuring 12-18 centimetres, it has distinctive yellowish lines down its sides and yellow-orange fins.

This year the Swiss Fishing Association engaged fishers and cantonal authorities to take a closer look at the souffia, a species that many were quite unfamiliar with.

They found hardly any souffia in the central plateau, and in the western midlands there were only small stocks. Stocks in the Jura region were reported to be stable.

Canton Ticino was the only part of Switzerland boasting a solid population of the slender fish.

According to the association, a loss of habitat is to blame for the decline of the souffia. It depends on rivers and streams with clean water – preferably with gravel in which it lays its eggs between March and May.

The fishing association has called for a restoration of Swiss waters to help the souffia escape extinction.

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