The project RESPECTA works for the recovery of native species and has so far managed to rescue more than 500 fish.
The initiative stems from a problem detected in the irrigation ponds of the area of the Ribera d’Ebre. The different communities of irrigators were finding many dead fish on emptying the ponds, given that, when they absorb water from the river to fill these ponds, they are also bringing egg clutches of fish, small fry, larvae, etc.
Once the problem was detected, some custody agreements were drawn up between The Grup de Natura Freixe and the irrigating communities of Móra la Nova, Móra d’Ebre, Benissanet and Ginestar.
In this sense, it is the irrigating communities them selves who are responsible for warning the members of the Grup de Natura Freixe just before they empty the ponds. From that point, a day is agreed to carry out the fish rescue action. That same day, the water level is lowered, so that they can act more easily.
The RESPECTA project is managed by the Fundación Biodiversidad, which chooses some projects at state level and supports them so that they can be put into action. Thus, during 2018, different actions were carried out in these ponds.
The director of Grup de Natura Freixe, Pere Josep Jiménez, points out that when the project was started they were surprised to find that, as well as large native fish, they found large quantities of freshwater blenny (Salaria fluviatilis), a very small species that can pass unnoticed, but which is very important because of its vulnerability and the fact that its population is low. Thanks to these actions, these fish are being returned to the river and the species can be repopulated.
Success! The project lasts one year, the time that Fundación Biodiversitat projects last, but the intention is to extend it for longer to be able to apply it to other areas of the Terres de l’Ebre and Catalunya, given its patent success.