“We are extremely worried,” Philipp Sicher, head of the Swiss Fishing Federation (FSP), said in a statement late last month about the plight of fish in the current heatwave. “Indicators show that tragedy is near,” added Sicher.
The same warning noted that when water temperatures reach between 23 and 25 degrees Celsius, the situation becomes “critical” for fish. Last weekend the temperature in parts of the Rhine river reached 27.6 degrees.
“All waters are affected by the heatwave,” Eva Baier, water protection expert at the Swiss Fishing Federation, told The Local. “In the canton of Zurich alone, we've had to fish out and relocate the animals from 150 creeks across several hundred kilometres of watercourses,” added Baier.
A tonne of fish have already died in the Rhine in the canton of Schaffhausen alone, according to officials. In the canton of Thurgau, farmers there face a ban on pumping surface water as of the end of last month.
Baier and her team use several techniques to attempt to safeguard fish species vulnerable to the rise in water temperatures.