Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sperchios and Maliakos: KRIPIS project in progress

Apostolos Siapatis fry-netting and others in boat observing our progress in deep mud.
April 7th to 9th 2014

Both departments of our institute (IMBRIW) are working on fish-based aspects of integrated management research at the Sperchios River Basin Area. This pioneering integrative project (the KRIPIS project) also involves other aspects of water and resource management but I focus on the fish here.... This month we had a very good first info-gathering trial working together in the Delta of the Sperchios - within the shallow and tidal Maliakos Gulf. The tidal influence and estuarine appearance of the Gulf are extremely rare environments in the oligotrophic Aegean Sea. Critical aims for the ichthyologists at the beginning of the KRIPIS project are to build a descriptive knowledge base of this unique ecosystem and to introduce fish sampling/monitoring methods so we can get some real data. A first step of course is to resort to getting a lot of help from the local fishermen. We'll be back soon.

Apostolos and I trying to work the fry net in "deep" water at the Livari Enbayment - an open lagoon-like water body in the Delta.
Working inside and outside the boat. It was a rainy day- a northern feel. Fascinating tidal estuary experience for us southerners.
The Sperchios delta has huge tidal mudflats - something very rare in the Southern half of the Aegean. Waders were in full migration - we spotted a few Mute Swans and Flamingos.
Our drag-net contraption "rolls" on the muddy bottom behind the boat. Its a quick-fish trap to see what's in the turbid bottom.
Alkis Economou and Stephanos Kavadas collecting samples from the fry-net. This little Seine-thing works well in very shallow waters. 
The shallow tidal embayments are famous as nursery grounds for Sole (Solea sp.). Even for this fishermen report a decline. 
Watery, muddy, wild world. Stephanos and Alkis working the fry-net. Ok, now we know it does'nt really work in deep water!
Prize-of-the-day: a dwarf goby, this is a robust-looking male. I assume it to be a Knipowitschia sp. collected in formalin solution! 
Stephanos and Apostolos sorting samples on board. What we collected is our first window into knowledge.
Alkis with sample bottles - some with formalin some with ethanol. Nikos the local guide, knew about throw-nets too.
Stephanos, Tassos and Alkis planning ahead: A great team! Muddy roads, small canals, mudflats - the Delta is a labyrinth.
Mugilids (Liza sp.) abound in shallow brackish waters of river-mouths and lagoons; these were caught with a throw-net.
At the small harbour of Molos we interviewed fishermen. The eutrophic waters are unlike any you see in southern Greece.
Gill-netter in a shabby state: Fishermen report a huge decline and point to illegal fishing and overfishing as problems.
One of the fishermen with hundreds of meters of gill-net. We discussed the problems. The catch was not good today.
Marbled Electric Rays (Torpedo marmorata) caught by the gill-netter at Molos. Fishermen mentioned several ray species in the Malliakos (Big ones too - over 30 Kg). 
The Mantis Shrimp, Squilla mantis, a stomatopod shrimp that is harvested in large numbers. In Greek it is known as "Katsarida" (=roach).
The invasive Blue Crab Calonectes sapidus is a problematic over-abundant species with low economic value; its impacts have not been fully assessed. 
River meets the sea. One of the most intriguing environments for ichthyologists. Here we are reacheing the moth of the old channel of the Sperchios.

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