Salmon-Comeback Project. Photo/Foto:

Salmon, Habitat and the Rhine

One hundred years ago, the Rhine was the largest salmon river in Europe. Every year, millions of salmon swam from the estuary in the Netherlands to the smallest tributaries in Germany, France and Switzerland.

The fish was present in all larger rivers and waters on the northern side of the Alps, including the Rhine, Aare, Limmat and Thur.

For centuries, the fish was an essential part of a diverse ecosystem.

Since the 1950s, the Atlantic salmon in the Rhine has been extinct. Due to pollution, overfishing and barriers in the rivers.

Salmons swim up to 5,000 kilometres to lay their eggs in Greenland, where they were once born.

However, the end station is the hydroelectric power plants near Strasbourg nowadays. In the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, fish ladders already make the long journey possible.

The last French mile has yet to be bridged.

WWF and other (Swiss) organisations are organising the ‘Salmon-Comeback’ project.

The project symbolises the entire habitat of the Rhine. If salmon are doing well, the river, other waters and all animals are doing well.

(Source and further information: and