Electrofishing Kosovo and a road-trip through North Macedonia

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Electrofishing Kosovo and a road-trip through North Macedonia


Maybe North Vancouver, I know…
Kosovo
December 2017

Well...it's like Western Canada, but only 1,000 kilometers north of Athens, Greece! Dimitri and I went to Kosovo last December and had a great time! In collaboration with our friend Linda Grapsi from the University of Pristina, a study was carried out on fish in the upper reaches of the Wit Dren.

We spent a rainy weekend electrofishing, sightseeing and enjoying great food. The people were so friendly and welcoming, as Mediterranean countries are everywhere - the experience was amazing for us. We electrified a tributary of White Dren (near Klein) in winter conditions. The rivers overflow here in the spring - very strong winds are felt, alder forests and floods are everywhere. Drin is one of the largest river basins in the Balkans, but its fauna has not been studied much. It should also be borne in mind that after the late 1990s, the devastating Balkan wars and many social and political changes, little attention was paid to biodiversity research. Drin is part of the South-East Adriatic ecoregion, one of the least explored ecoregions in Europe... Our work was exploratory in nature; Many questions. Taxonomic issues have made identification to the species level difficult (many of our fish still have question marks next to their names).

We caught a lot of fish and sent them to Athens (under license and in close cooperation with the university). We also came back with very cheap booze (but no - it's probably illegal). It was snowing on the way back and the environment was near freezing, and we really felt like we had to go south. On the way back we come to the wonderful country of "North Macedonia" (I really hope this naming contradiction goes away! Please excuse me for branding this new proposed name instead of the abbreviation FYR ), for us Greeks Macedonia is still not a sensitive subject. Let's get it done!). It's great to explore our neighboring republic to the north. What an amazing Axios/Vardar river! We saw Vardar at his home in southern Kosovo and then followed him to the sunny Thermaic Gulf.

We promised to come back. We will arrange a return visit in the near future.

Here we share some photos and a selection of photos of aquarium fish taken at the collection sites.




My girlfriend Linda and my son Dmitriy are in the background of Albanian colleagues. Expedition style!
Note the density of plastic in the trees behind us...

Under these conditions, even three grills are not enough!

Winter fishing is not easy.
Note the submerged bank. The wreckage and ruins of the 1999 war.


Another location on the Kleinrivier, water and flooding are common here. Alder bushes Alnus glutinosa .
The Old Man on the Bulky River: still reminds me of the valleys near Vancouver. It is one of the giant karst springs of the Wit Drin.

Yes, it's the Western Balkans, but with alder and lots of rain, the weather can be mild anywhere on the west coast. This upper part of the river is the trout zone (only trout and salmon are available - the water is always cold).

Dmitri and Linda on a clean, cold river. Watch out for the many military debris and construction debris! It is not just unplanned neglect. This is the result of the war. It worries. It wasn't safe to try the current near the bridges that were bombed...
But the wealth of fishing here...a variety of fish caught near the Nora near the village of Klein in the middle of the upper white dren. A. Alburnoides ohridanus (Spirilin, juveniles); B. Alburnoides ohridanus ( Spirlina , adult ) , C. Rhodeus cf. , juveniles), H. Gobio skadarensis (gudgeon, adult). The classification will soon be confirmed by genetic tests.


Selection of fish caught in the upper reaches of the Wit Drin. A - " Barbus cf. Rebeli/balcanicus " (Barbel); B. Barbatula sturanyi (char rock) in lot 3; C. alburnus scoranza ( dark) in plot 1 , D. fish, hatched fry), H. Salmo fariodes (trout) with dermatophytes (adults). The classification will soon be confirmed by genetic tests.

Selection of fish caught in the upper reaches of the Wit Drin. A. Squalius platyceps (adult) in segment 2; chondrosarcoma cf Ohridanus (nose, adult) in position 2; c- chondrosarcoma cf Ohridanus (nose) in segment 3 (juvenile); D. Sabanejewia balcanica (Arctic char, young) in section 2, E. Pachichylon pictum (Moranec) in section 2. F. Salmo fariodes (trout) in section 2. G. Gobio skadarensis ( Minnow ) in section 2 Classification to be published later confirmed by genetic tests .

Somewhere in the northwest of Kosovo.
Typical street scene in the upper Vardar valley in Kosovo, very close to the "North Macedonia" border.



A giant Albanian flag flies on the Kosovo side of the border between Kosovo and North Macedonia.
Vardar in North Macedonia.

Vardar in North Macedonia.















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