Salmon (Salmo peristericus)

GenusSalmo (1)
SizeLength: c. 35 cm (2)
Weightc. 350 g (2)

Salmo peristericus is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

A small, slender-bodied fish, Salmo peristericus is very similar in appearance to other Balkan species in the genus Salmo. It is distinguished mainly by having a low number of gill rakers (the bony, finger-like projections on the gill arch), compared with other species (2) (3) (4).

Salmo peristericus has small, eye-like, black spots evenly distributed along the length of the body, mainly above the lateral line (2) (3). Black spots are also present on much of the dorsal fin (3), and there is a small black spot on the hard bony flap, the ‘operculum’, which covers and protects the gills (2) (4). Numerous, small red spots are also scattered along the sides of the body and on the dorsal fin (2) (3). The edges of the dorsal and anal fins are typically pale or white (3). 

Salmo peristericus is thought to be restricted to the Agios Germanos stream (1) (5), and to Brajcinska Reka, which both flow into Lake Megali Prespa, in the Prespa Lakes region of north-western Greece and south-west Macedonia (3).

This species may also occur in two additional streams leading into Lake Megali Prespa, although the presence of Salmo peristericus in these streams currently remains uncertain (3).

Occurring in a small number of mountain streams with gravel bottoms in the Prespa Lakes region, Salmo peristericus is typically found where the water is cool and well-oxygenated (1) (2).

Salmo peristericus feeds on fish, insects and a variety of other small organisms that inhabit the stream bed (2). Originally believed to inhabit lakes and return to streams only to spawn, Salmo peristericus is now considered to be completely restricted to its mountain stream habitat. This species lays its eggs around November (4).

The population of Salmo peristericus is threatened by habitat degradation, largely due to pollution, overgrazing of streamside vegetation and erosion, which destroy this species’ spawning areas and reduces the water quality of the streams (1) (2). Increased sediment in streams and fragmentation of this species’ vital habitat are also contributing to the declining population of Salmo peristericus (2).

Climate change is an emerging threat to this species, and may negatively affect the health of the Salmo peristericus population in the future (2). Lowering of the water levels through extraction and drought is also a threat to this species (1) (2) (3). Poaching may also be placing increased pressure on the population of Salmo peristericus (1) (2). 

Part of Salmo peristericus’s range is encompassed by a National Park, and angling in the region is regulated according to the National law (1).

A Species Action Plan has been developed for Salmo peristericus to establish the key priorities and actions needed to ensure the conservation of this species. In particular, the Action Plan aims to develop a long-term monitoring scheme to research the health of the remaining populations of Salmo peristericus, as well as health of the streams in which it is found (2).

In addition, the Action Plan aims to identify the most important threats to this species, and to implement a number of measures to mitigate these threats. Included in the recommended measures for the conservation of Salmo peristericus is setting up a wardening and monitoring scheme. This will assess the impact of poaching and angling on this species and raise the awareness of its importance, and should be conducted in association with local partnerships and the community (2).

Regulations for angling, including new local license, bag limits, size limits and catch and release policies have also been proposed to protect the Salmo peristericus population, while new regulations regarding water removal for irrigation and hydropower stations may also be considered (2).

It is also suggested that Salmo peristericus be designated a ‘flagship species’ in the Prespa National Park, as part of a public awareness campaign to raise the profile of this threatened species (2).   

Find out more about the conservation of Salmo peristericus:

Find out more about the conservation of salmonids in the Balkans:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2011)
  2. Kousteri, I., Crivelli, A.J., Petkovski, S. and Kazoglou, Y. (2010) Species Action Plan for the Endemic Prespa Trout, Salmo peristericus: A Conservation Tool. BALWOIS. Available at:
  3. Delling, B. (2010) Diversity of western and southern Balkan trouts, with the description of a new species from the Louros River, Greece (Teleostei: Salmonidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 21(4): 331-344.
  4. Fish Base - Salmo peristericus (May, 2011)
  5. Karakousis, Y. and Triantaphyllidis, C. (1990) Genetic structure and differentiation among Greek brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) populations. Heredity, 64: 297-304.