The Symposium of the LIFE Saramugo Project, entitled "Symposium for Freshwater Fish Conservation and Habitat Rehabilitation", was held on September 27, 28 and 29 at Colégio do Espírito Santo of the University of Évora in Évora, and was was attended by about 80 participants.
On September 27th and 28th, four plenary sessions were held, which included lectures by internationally recognized speakers, followed by oral presentations from participants from different European countries (Portugal, Spain, England, Sweden and Estonia). From the invited speakers: Emili Berthou spoke about what is currently happening with the riverside biotic communities and Rui Cortes gave the motto for the conservation and rehabilitation of riparian habitats. Jorg Freyhof presented the main challenges for the conservation of threatened species of fish in an optimistic and encouraging discourse, encouraging all those present not to give up the threatened natural resources and to devote more time to their conservation, along with research.
This meeting also provided results achieved under LIFE Saramugo project as well as the experience acquired in the implementation of concrete management measures in the field in order to improve the habitat of saramugo and thus fulfill the main objective of the Project: to improve the population situation of this species. It was also a key opportunity to publicize the work that environmental education and the stewardship network are doing to increase public awareness of this critically endangered species. In total, the Project team presented seven oral communications and four posters.
At the 4th plenary session dedicated to LIFE projects, two LIFE projects were presented in Portugal: LIFE INVASAQUA and LIFE AGUEDA. The first, dedicated to raising awareness among the general public and stakeholders of the problems of invasive alien species in freshwater and estuarine aquatic ecosystems; the second, aimed at conservation and management actions for migratory fish in the Vouga watershed. The LIFE for LASCA project in Slovenia was also present with a poster, which aims to conserve a highly endangered fish species, the Protochondrostoma genei. In addition to these, the LIFE Charcos Project was presented, which aimed at the conservation of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds, a priority habitat that is increasingly threatened due to its ecological fragility and ignorance of its natural value.
The 29th of September was dedicated to a field trip to the Vascão river, in the SIC Guadiana. In this place there have already been three interventions of the LIFE Saramugo project, namely, the desilting of a summer pool; the removal of a cane patch, with subsequent stabilization of the slopes and recovery of riparian vegetation; and also the installation of a leisure area. The participants had the opportunity to verify and understand interventions made to improve the saramugos habitat as well as to observe some of the biodiversity that led Vascão to be classified as a Ramsar Site in 2012.
This event has provided a forum for networking opportunities, sharing ideas, experiences and perspectives between projects that have already taken place or are under way, as well as among technicians, scientists and the public in general.
The abstract book is already available and can be consulted here.