Past and present of and perspectives for the Danube huchen, Hucho hucho (L.), in the Danube basin          [RESEARCH ARTICLE]

  • Andrzej Witkowski
  • Aleksandar Bajić
  • Tomislav Treer
  • Aleksandar Hegediš
  • Saša Marić
  • Nikica Šprem
  • Marina Piria
  • Andrzej Kapusta
Keywords: conservation, distribution, habitat loss, Hucho, population status, salmonids


Huchen, Hucho hucho (L.), also known as Danube salmon, is an iconic, endemic species inhabiting the Danube basin of Central Europe. Historically, the Danube huchen inhabited a significant portion of the Danube drainage basin stretching to the Iron Gate and the majority of large and medium-sized tributaries. Larger populations in the natural zoogeographical distribution of Danube huchen were once found in Austria, Bavaria, the former Yugoslavia, Slovakia, and western Ukraine. Currently, the species is severely fragmented within the Danube drainage, where most populations exclusively depend on stocking and natural reproduction is very limited due to habitat alterations and flow regime changes. In the Czech Republic and Poland, Danube huchen occurrence is the result of introducing the species to several rivers in the Baltic Sea and North Sea drainage basins. Danube huchen is a threatened species throughout is range of occurrence, and, according to IUCN criteria, it is classified as endangered (EN). Habitat degradation is the most serious negative factor impacting huchen populations. Dam construction, pollution, and river regulation have led to loss and degradation of spawning sites. Detailed research on population abundance and structure is greatly needed to help identify the populations which are most threatened and to help to develop the best protection systems.


A. Witkowski [+]
Museum of Natural History
University of Wrocław
ul. Sienkiewicza 21, 50-335 Wrocław, Poland
Tel.: +48 71 375 41 53, e-mail:
T. Treer, N. Šprem, M. Piria
Department of Fisheries, Beekeeping
Game Management and Special Zoology
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb
Svetošimunska 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
A. Bajić
Department of Biology and Ecology
Faculty of Science, University of Novi Sad
Trg D. Obradovića 2, Novi Sad, Serbia
A. Hegediš
Institute for Multidisciplinary Studies of the University of Belgrade
Kneza Višeslava 1, 11030 Belgrade, Serbia
S. Marić
Institute of Zoology, Faculty of Biology
University of Belgrade
Studentski Trg 16, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
A. Kapusta
Department of Ichthyology
nd Fisheries Institute in Olsztyn, Poland