Huchen protesting at Drina Regatta

++ 20,000 people at this year's event on Drina River in Serbia ++ NGO's protested against damming the globally most important Huchen (Danube Salmon) River ++

Huchen protest at the Drina Regatta. The Drina is the most important river for this globally threatened species, but dam projects are putting them at risk. © Aleksandar Skoric
Biggest river related event in Europe: 20,000 people participated in this year’s Drina Regatta, starting below the Bajina Basta dam which is 90 meters in height. © Dusan Micic
For the first time, environmental groups and angling associations used the Drina Regatta to protest against the dam plans. The slogan “Čuvajmo Drinu, zaustavimo brane!” („Save the Drina, stop the dams“) was floating down the river. © Dusan Micic

Bajina Basta/Serbia. Yesterday, one of the biggest river events in Europe – the Drina Regatta – took place at the Drina River near Bajina Basta in Serbia. About 20,000 people took to boats, rafts and traditional wooden floats and went down this beautiful river. At this year’s event, NGOs in cooperation with angling (fishing) associations protested against hydropower plans for the first time in the 24-year history of the regatta.

The Drina is the most important lifeline for the Huchen (Hucho hucho) – a globally threatened fish species, which can grow up to 1.8 m in length and is particularly vulnerable to dam construction. Nevertheless, the Drina is at risk from nine planned dams, including the large Buk Bijela project.

In protest of these plans, the slogan “Čuvajmo Drinu, zaustavimo brane!” („Save the Drina, stop the dams“) was floating down the river during the regatta. Additionally, a big Huchen dummy got the attention of the participants. The action was organized by NGOs from Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia with the support of international environmental groups, including Riverwatch and EuroNatur as well as outdoor outfitter Patagonia.

“With this action we were showing to the participants of Drina regatta as well as the wider public how hydropower development is putting our rivers at risk and why it is crucial to preserve the river Drina, the most important hotspot for the Huchen,” says Jelena Ivanić from the Center for Environment, main organizer of protest activity and Blue Heart partner.

 

Background information:
Here you find more information about the Huchen
• The protest activity at the Drina Regatta was organized within the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign, which aims to protect the most valuable rivers in the Balkans. The campaign is coordinated by the NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur and carried out together with partner organisations in the Balkan countries. In Bosnia & Herzegovina, the local partner is Center for Environment.

Further information:
Jelena Ivanić – Center for Environment jelena.ivanic(at)czzs.org 00387/65779467
Ulrich Eichelmann – Riverwatch ulrich.eichelmann(at)riverwatch.eu 0043/676 6621512

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