Fishing for science

Next week, the CTCF delegation, in cooperation with EcoAlbania, will visit the Valbona river valley in Albania. Initially, the purpose of this trip was to get a general impression of the situation in this watershed, and to assess its potential for the implementation of a project that combines the conservation of trout and its natural habitat with the creation of infrastructure for the development of eco – tourism in this area. Depending on the findings and results of this first visit, the next steps will be determined, which will most likely have as a top priority the need to do scientific research in order to determine specifically which trout species will be used. focus during the continuation of this initiative.

Continental Trout Conference in Iceland. (c) R. Beaumont/ CTFC

It is worth noting that only nine specimens of trout have been present with a fairly large extent along Valbona according to a sampling expedition carried out by Alain Crivelli in 2005. However, these preliminary data are not sufficient to obtain a clear picture of the entire genetic structure of the trout in this basin. In this light we have asked ourselves, when we are there, besides probably being tempted by the idea of throwing a fishing hook, why not also collect the necessary genetic material to bring new data for the beginning of a such study? And that’s what we’re going to do…

Since Prof. Crivelli will not be able to join the group this time, Aleš Snoj, involved in this project as a genetic researcher, has given us the necessary instructions on how to collect and store the samples in the right way. Carlos Rodriquez, Ph.D. in Aquatic Biology, will supervise the sampling and document it. Of course, we are pleased to have Denik Ulqin – University of Shkodra, who is well acquainted with fish and their study methods. To conclude the entire organization of the working group with the initiators of this initiative: Alfonso Soria, Tjong Khoe, Olsi Nika, and René Beaumont. All samples will be sent to the Department of Zoological Sciences of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, for further determination by Aleš Snoj, and finally by Prof. Alain Crivelli.

Last but not least: Johannes Schöffmann also decided to join us in Albania. For him, this is a nostalgic return to Albania where he conducted scientific research about twenty years ago. For decades, Johannes has contributed extensively to the knowledge of salmonid distribution, phylogeny, and ecology through his countless adventures in many countries of the world in an effort to determine native trout species. Johannes is known as the “master without masters”. He never studied at a university but managed to become a world-class expert in his field, thereby expanding the understanding of the incredible diversity of trout.

By René Beaumont/ CTFC

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