Restoration of barbel in the Neris River
On 10–11 October, Trakai hosted an international scientific-practical conference "Resources, threats and prospects of rare and endangered fish". Presentations were delivered by Nature Research Centre's scientists: Dr Vytautas Kesminas and Dr Vytautas Rakauskas. The conference focused on the issues of release of aquarium-reared barbel juveniles (aged 0+ and 1 + years) into the Neris River. The barbel (Barbus barbus) is a typical benthophagous river fish species. Lithuania is the northernmost distribution range of the barbel. However, climate warming might cause the occurrence of this species in the neighbouring more northerly countries. The number of barbels decreased in the second half of the last century due to intensive anthropogenic pressure. One of the most efficient measures to reconstruct barbel populations is their artificial rearing and introduction into natural water bodies. Barbel reconstruction issues have become the focus of Nature Research Centre's scientists since 2014. The first portion of barbels was artificially reared and released into the Neris River in the spring of 2018. To date, about 500 barbel juveniles of two age groups have been reared in the Nature Research Centre's aquarium and released into the Neris. This pilot project will be the basis for rearing barbels in other fish-rearing enterprises and releasing them into other rivers.