Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

Deep-water char

‘Extinct’ fish found in Lake Constance

By swissinfo.ch and agencies

A deep-water char found in Lake Constance (eawag.ch)

A deep-water char found in Lake Constance


Several specimens of the deep-water char, declared extinct in 2008, have been discovered by surprised scientists in Lake Constance as part of a study into fish biodiversity in Alpine lakes.

“Projet Lac” was carried out from 2010 to 2015 by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), together with the cantons, the Federal Office for the Environment, the University of Bern and the Bern Natural History Museum.

Researchers determined the taxonomy of some 50,000 fish in 17 Swiss lakes and several bodies of water in northern Italy and France.

More than 70 fish species were documented in the study, with whitefish dominating down to great depths but only in the cleanest lakes. Perch and carp dominate in the lakes that are now, or were in the past, nutrient rich.

In most of the lakes, however, former deep-water fish species have been lost. In the 197-metre deep Lake Zug, for example, there are hardly any fish below 30 metres.

Good news

But Projet Lac also brought good news: thanks to a targeted search in Lake Constance, several specimens of the deep-water char (Salvelinus profundus) native to the lake were rediscovered.

This species, frequently caught by Lake Constance fishermen until the 1960s, was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008.

The deep-water char is found at a depth of about 80 metres and feeds on flatworms, small crustaceans and mussels. The size of the population from which these recently found specimens come will be investigated in the future.  

Sign up for our free newsletter and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.