18 Jun 2020

Plan of action for Prespa Trout now in the pipeline

Thanks to a grant from Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust and Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, conservationists in North Macedonia can begin working on a plan to save the Endangered Prespa Trout from extinction.

Prespa Trout © Ljubomir Stefanov
Prespa Trout © Ljubomir Stefanov
By Oliver Avramoski, PONT

Prespa Ohrid Nature Trust (PONT) and Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) recently awarded two complementary grants for the conservation of plants in the Mediterranean, under a joint Call for proposals which opened in January 2020.

An additional grant has been awarded to the Balkan Foundation for Sustainable Development (BFSD) in North Macedonia, addressing sustainable management of water catchments. The grant will support actions concerning the conservation of the endemic Prespa Trout (Salmo peristericus) which is listed as Endangered (EN) on the global IUCN Red List. The headwaters of River Brajchinska, mostly located in Pelister National Park, currently support the largest population of this species in North Macedonia, while smaller populations are also found in Kranska and Leva rivers, outside the boundaries of the park.

The grant will enable the BFSD, in partnership with Eko-svest, another NGO based in North Macedonia, to design and facilitate a participatory process for developing a Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for the Prespa Trout. The plan, concerning the populations in North Macedonia, will take into account the transboundary action plan for the species of 2008 that also covered the Agios Germanos river in the Greek part of Prespa.

An assessment will be conducted on the distribution, population size and conservation status of the Prespa Trout in the three rivers, building upon and updating the data from studies conducted before the construction of three hydropower plants on Brajchinska and Kranska rivers in 2013 and 2014.    

Building upon the results of the assessment study, the CAP will be developed by Pelister National Park, with the involvement of the Municipality of Resen, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, other competent ministries, as well as the National Forest Service, hydro power plant operators, local communities and local civil society organisations. Key stakeholders in the Greek part of Prespa will be also consulted.

The development of the CAP will be accompanied by public awareness and capacity building activities focusing on governance and establishing a long-term monitoring program for the Prespa Trout.

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PONT is a foundation established under German Law, supporting Protected Areas and Environmental Actors in the Wider Prespa Area in North Macedonia, Greece and Albania, with the mission to “provide long term financing for the conservation and sustainable management of biological diversity, natural processes and ecosystem services in Prespa and its wider area for the benefit of nature and people in the region”. For more information about PONT, its mission, approach and programme please visit: www.pont.org.


The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation, for more information please visit: www.cepf.net.

Additional funding to the CEPF small grant programme in the Balkans is provided by the MAVA Foundation, which will be used to extend CEPF’s reach and further empower the smaller grassroots organizations.

 

CEPF is more than just a funding provider

A dedicated Regional Implementation Team (RIT) (expert officers on the ground) guide funding to the most important areas and to even the smallest of organisations; building civil society capacities, improving conservation outcomes, strengthening networks and sharing best practices. In the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot, the RIT is entrusted to BirdLife International and its Partners LPO (BirdLife France), DOPPS (BirdLife Slovenia) and BPSSS (BirdLife Serbia).