Newsletter 12 of August 1, 2016

Confirmed in 2016, the artificial breeding of South European Nase.

In addition to sturgeon Cobice, the Project CON.FLU.PO. foresees the setting up of specific protocols for 4 species of cyprinids reofili declining - Pigo, South European nase, Common Barbel and Italian Nase - with the aim to spread good practices and artificial breeding to produce juveniles for planting and restocking the area affected by these species. But for the South European Nase were reported only sporadic artificial reproductive experiences, as well as missing entirely a specific operating protocol.

The South European Nase (Protochondrostoma genei) is a fish of medium-small size. It gregarious and lives in groups of hundreds of individuals, often associated with other Cyprinidae who prefer running waters. In the upper reaches of the rivers often coexists with grayling and marble trout. It is active throughout the year.

The South European Nase is Italian endemic species. It is present in whole of northern Italy and in the Adriatic slope up to Abruzzo Region; in the Tyrrhenian slope there are several populations in Liguria, Tuscany and Lazio, which have originated from allochthonous material entered with repopulation in favor of sport fishing.

The South European Nase is almost everywhere in decline, due to the degradation of river environments (degradation water quality, alteration of river beds and substrates, the presence of dams) and because of excessive sport fishing during the breeding season. In Friuli-Venezia Giulia the populations are in sharp decline for the competition with Chondrostoma nasus, non-native species introduced in the 60s in the Slovenian part of the Isonzo basin and spread throughout the basin.

The South European Nase was included, in fact, in the Red List of freshwater fish Italian and classified as "Vulnerable" (VU-Vulnerable), as well as being included in Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive, and among the species protected by the Berne Convention ( Annex III).

In the early stages of the project it was sought above all to obtain a breeding stock with which to work and experiment with various methods of artificial reproduction. Due to its scarcity in nature, the obtaining of a good group of players has not been easily realized, even if this objective it could still reach also thanks to the support and collaboration with FIPSAS of Novara and the contacts established with the project Life Barbie.

Once this first phase, it has worked to set up an environment suitable for their housing, although it was noted that the South European Nase is well suited to life in the tank and a power feed.

After the first very encouraging results in terms of reproduction, finally in 2015 it was achieved a first reproduction by fish hatchery hosted FIPSAS of Varese Golasecca (VA), with spawning in boxes with gravel placed in the tank housing. The result has been about a hundred weaned subjects, a part of which are still present at the hatchery and intended as a rimount of the breeding group.

In 2016, supported by previous experiences, it continued following what had been done in 2015, placing more attention to several details in order to define even more the reproduction protocol. It was also prepared a second group of breeding animals at the hatchery of Fagiana owned by the Ticino Park, also applying here the method implemented at the hatchery FIPSAS of Varese.

 

Figure 1: with gravel cassette on which the eggs were laid.

The results obtained in 2016 were certainly very positive: in fact it is obtained the reproduction in both the two groups of breeding animals housed in the two hatcheries, allowing to obtain an total of about 50,000 fry of South European Nase. These were initially kept in boxes and fed with mixed feed (Artemia salina).

 

Figure 2: fry of South European Nase to about two weeks after hatching.

Subsequently, a portion of these were placed for growth in artificial ponds present at the Abbiategrasso provincial hatchery, with which the Park has instituited a collaboration for the activities of this project.

The remaining subjects are been sown in the Ticino River and some of its side tributaries, as provided in Action C.2 of the project. The excellent results achieved in this year's activities, have definitely confirmed and consolidated even more the operational protocol for the artificial reproduction of this species which in recent years thanks to the implemented work has taken and is taking more and more a permanent and effective form.

 

Figure 3: young specimen of South European Nase almost ready for marking and release in river

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