Protection of the endangered fish lake minnow, Eupallasella percnurus (Pallas, 1814), within the Natura 2000 network in Poland: Present status and perspectives

  • Jacek Wolnicki
  • Justyna Sikorska
  • Grzegorz Radtke
Keywords: fish occurrence, lake minnow, Natura 2000 network, nature conservation, threats


The Natura 2000 network in Poland comprises over a thousand Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birds and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for habitats and plant and animal species. One of these animals is the fish species lake minnow, Eupallasella percnurus, which is highly endangered with extinction and under strict protection. Presently it occurs in 27 SACs at 73 sites, i.e., considerably fewer than in the previous decade, when it occurred in 35 SACs at about 100 sites. Since it is very likely that the decline in the number of E. percnurus sites will continue in coming years, serious doubts are raised concerning the perspectives for its conservation within the Natura 2000 network and throughout Poland. The major threat to the existence of its habitats is climate change resulting in water bodies drying up at accelerated rates. Introductions of predatory fish species also contribute to the extinction of E. percnurus populations. Obviously, preserving the occurrence of E. percnurus in Polish inland waters will require the wide-ranging use of active conservation measures with a special emphasis on the revitalization of its most valuable habitats.