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  02.02.2018, 13:41h

Project for the targeting eradication of pike in Krka National Park

Thirty authorised fishermen will gather together on 3–4 February in the upper course of the Krka River, as part of the project for the targeting eradication of pike (Esoxlucius), an alien and invasive species.

In its Annual programme for the protection, maintenance, conservation, promotion and use of Krka National Park for 2018, the Public Institute of Krka National Park has planned attempts to eradicate the pike from the Krka River as part of its activities to protect and conserve flora and fauna. Following from this, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy issued a Decision permitting project partner, the company BIOTA j.d.o.o. and project leader Dr. Dušan Jelić to use an electrogenerator as a non-selective method of capturing fish in the water courses of Krka National Park, as part of the targeted eradication of pike.

Pike was introduced into the Krka River from the Danube Sea Basin, and this predator species represents a threat to the indigenous fish fauna. There are 30 species of fish in the Krka River, including ten endemic species, which makes this area a natural monument of the highest category. Endemic species include marble trout and Adriatic salmon, while the most abundant endemic species are the Illyric ide and brown trout. A special feature of Krka National Park is the presence of two stenoendemic species, which are found only on in a very small, localised area: the Visovac trout and Mrakovcic's goby. The conservation of these species is of the utmost importance, and the reason for the decision by the Public Institute of Krka National Park to launch this pike eradication programme.

The capture of pike using fishing tools and electrogenerators will begin on 3 February 2018 in the area of Ćorića Lake/ Brljan Lake (upstream and downstream of the road), and will continue on 4 February in the area of the Krka Monastery. Members of the Krka Knin sports fishing club, staff of the Croatian Agency for Environment and Nature (HAOP), BIOTA j.d.o.o., Croatian Institute for Biological Diversity, and staff of the Public Institute of Krka National Park will participate in the action, while nature rangers will supervise the entire process.

The Croatian Agency for Environment and Nature (HAOP) gave its expert opinion on the project, stating that actions taken with the aim of eradicating pike will not negatively impact the populations of strictly protected fish species. The Decision also states that all captured strictly protected fish species are required to be immediately returned to the water unharmed, while all alien and/or invasive species should be removed. This is the reason why the electrogenerator is used to capture the fish, as this method only stuns fish, and this method is the accepted standard for scientific research work in fisheries.