The number of barriers in European rivers is much higher than indicated by available databases – up to one barrier in every kilometre of river. The researchers found that the number of barriers recorded in existing databases only amounted to 3% of the total number of river barriers in Europe. Information about the location and density of smaller barriers is often unknown, but these smaller barriers present the biggest problem for the health of Europe’s streams and rivers.
Scientists are inviting citizens to help in updating information about these barriers with a newly-developed smartphone app. EAA hopes that many anglers will do so!
Fish bump into barriers almost every kilometre.
The app is a part of the EU-funded AMBER project. The scientists involved have estimated an average of one barrier per kilometre of river.
Hundreds of thousands of man-made barriers are scattered across Europe’s rivers. Many are completely obsolete and should be removed as quickly as possible. Barriers substantially change river ecosystems and block the natural swimways of migrating fish.
It is evident that eel, salmon, trout and a number of other species all rely on complete connectivity between the sea and their upstream river habitats to complete their life cycle. Less known is, that also freshwater bound fishes need enough of moving space to fulfil their lifecycle. That was ruled by a Swedish Court in 2014 .
Download the app
(or search for "Barrier tracker")
The study is part of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 AMBER project. It seeks to raise awareness of the problems posed by stream fragmentation, the pressures on freshwater ecosystems, and the need for innovative solutions to restore river connectivity. The project is working with hydroelectric companies, water providers, NGOs, anglers and local authorities to restore river connectivity in a way that maximizes the benefits of water abstraction but reduces environmental impacts.
Read more here