The souffia, or Western Vairone, has been named Fish of the Year for 2010.
The Swiss Fishing Association said it wanted to draw attention during the Year of Biodiversity to the struggle for animal survival and the depletion of fish stocks.
The small, thin fish is “unknown, underestimated and threatened”, according to the association, which added fishers were barely aware of the species and that few souffias have ever been anywhere near a kitchen.
The souffia (telestes souffia) is a ray-finned fish species mainly found in Central and Mediterranean European countries. To a lesser extent it also occurs in Eastern Europe. It depends on rivers and streams with clean water preferably with gravel soils in which it lays its eggs between March and May.
The existence of souffias, which are classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, is endangered by the damming of stretches of water, eddies and bed-load discharge.
The fishing association added that north of the Alps souffia numbers have dropped dramatically.
Souffias are around 18cm long and have distinctive yellowish lines down their sides and yellow-orange fins.
swissinfo.ch and agencies