Electrofishing in Northeastern Greece

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Electrofishing in Northeastern Greece

Cosintos river near Polisito, Zante province.


Electric fishing in northeastern Greece
End of April 2018

As I write this, many ethologists are capturing river fish in Greece using electrofishing. Much of this is done to comply with the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and is supported by generous EU funding. Europe's water and nature are the heritage of the European Union and a shared responsibility that binds the many peoples of this continent.

Electrofishing is not a sport or entertainment, it is a scientific specimen used for monitoring. Several attempts to standardize the “sampling method” have contributed to making it the preferred monitoring method for assessing the state of water bodies and fish populations. What we do for the EU WFD is a type of biological survey that uses a biological indicator to monitor the health of the ecosystem. What an idea !! Acknowledgements: James Carr, US Water Act and US Environmental Protection Agency...(long story...).

Here are some electrofishing photos from Alexandroupolis to Axios River.

We caught 30 freshwater species in the six river systems we explored on this trip. We also had time to look at the landscapes and check the anthropogenic pressure (as well as enjoying the cultural wonders...).

When electrofishing, we carefully record rivers and beaches, many photos, videos. I also always use the Spanish coastal habitat quality index QBR+ for coastal conditions and coastal vegetation ("+" refers to my analysis of trees with QBR). I feel so privileged to be a part of it all!


Xeropotamos sinks at Taphros Phillipon, Tenagi Phillipon (photo: Christina Papadaki). Fishing at sunset with a full moon (14 species listed here!).

Lutros Creek, off the state highway; A beautiful stream in the mountains of Evros; 7 species of fish have been identified there (Photo: Elias Dimitriou).

Catch the first Greek river lamprey ( Caspiomyzon hellenicus ), Cavalla Drama prefecture (Photo: HCMR team).

Greek lamp (Caspiomyzon helenicus), prefecture of Cavalla Drama.
Greek lamp ( Caspiomyzon hellenicus ), dramatic district of Kavala.
A typical group of three taking a stream in the hills of Evros.


Struma locha, Cobitis strumicae , Loutros Stream, Evros Hills. It is a very common species in a variety of habitats, from oceans to mountain ranges.
European Darkling, albernus albernus from Loutros Creek, Evros Hills (specimen collected after tag not yet verified).

Caucasian goby, Knipowitschia caucasica , in the river. axios This specimen appears to be a male; They reach a few centimeters and live 1.5-2 years.

Sttrumica Barbel, Barbus strumicae , in the cold water branch of the Agtis river.


Strymon Minnow, Foxinus strymonicus with a large Maritza Chubb (above).

Maritza Chub, Squalius orpheus , near Tenagi Phillipon. The length of this specimen is about 45 cm, it is one of the largest specimens we have.



Dark Vimba, Vimba melanops , is one of the largest sea bream we caught in Greece.

A team of five people in a large van collects water, sediment, chemical, physicochemical and fish/fish habitat data. The team includes Elias Dimitriou and Tassos Papadopoulos (seated). This is Avas in a palace north of Alexandropolis.

Oriental Plantain on Avantas Creek. Nectarius Smith bears root.

Philioris river basin, one of the most interesting areas in Greece in terms of river and wetland biodiversity.
Demonstration of local specialties in Komotini. A wide variety of baklava, katafi and more. The diversity is incredible and the cultural richness of this region - the crossroads between the two historic cities of Constantinople and Thessaloniki. And of course, the Ottoman Empire made these sweets popular and widely distributed in the East. Cheers!
Komotini is an excellent base for exploring the nature and culture of the region. Komotini is a symbol of peace among our people, Hellenistic Christians - Eastern Romalia and Pontus with the majority of Muslims - Turkic, Gypsy and Pomak all living in peace. I call them the Turks who speak Turkish, probably because they want to be called (i.e. in Asia Minor we also call them "Greeks" - Romans or Romans for Turks). The Turks call it Komotini, Gumultzina, a slip of the old Byzantine name, I am told. Yes, colorful with culture and history!

Grand Bazaar on Saturdays in Komotini.
Like almost every city in Greece, but many women wear the headgear called Komotini.
Electrofishing with Nektarios Kalaitzakis and Christina Papadaki (who took this photo) on the Komsatos River west of Komotini.

Drainage of the Komsatos River at the foot of the eastern road; This is the site of the proposed dam - it will completely destroy the river bed, flood the beautiful canyon and damage the unique Vistonis Lake system.


The massive Santa Barbara Springs (a tributary of the Agtis system) in the center of the town of Drama. Barbus strumicae, Squalius orpheus, Alburnoides strymonicus are abundant here and respond to bread feeding (but please don't feed wild fish!).
Santa Barbara Falls, Drama. The hotel behind is a former tobacco factory, now for smelly eco-tourists like us...

Santa Barbara Falls, Drama

Santa Barbara Falls, Drama

The Stroma rock loach, Oxynomacheilus bureschii , lives east of the Philuris River.

Vistonics filiuris is a pale, narrowly endemic , broad and highly migratory Alburnus vistonicus.

Thanks to our joint project, one of the canals of Tenagi Philippon has recently been included in the Natura 2000 network.

Vardar nasa, Chondrostoma vardarensis , from the Aggitis sub-basin (near Drama) is a good vegetarian.

Strymon Sprilin, Alburnoides strymonicus is very common in cold springs feeding in the upper tributaries of the Aggitis River.

The Thessian roughneck , Alburnus thessalicus, is common in lower Axios (Vardara).

Undoubtedly one of the most interesting fish in northeastern Greece, the bitter Rhodaeus amarus (here in Philioris river, Zakynthos province).
Sardinian erythrophthalmus (province of Kavala) Rare in Europe, caught in Greek marshes with regular electric trawling.
Axios river at Chalastra. Note that the fisherman is wearing a life jacket!!! Fishing in such conditions is a blessing. There were plenty of fish in the pools and pools of the floodplain (Photo: K. Papadaki).




Axios (Vardar), is the second largest river in Greece, after Evros (Marissa-Merick).
Back in the lab: Rudd looks at this specimen of European Scarnus erythrophthalmus (preserved in ethanol solutions, photo taken two days after collection, lost its true color).



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