Diary entryDiary entry
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Romanian National Fish Team leader Stefan Tolos presents a good-sized carp (Cyprinus carpio)
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Outside the Iron Gate II sluice from which the Piscius escaped into safety
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Abnormal variation of a bighead goby (Neogobius kessleri)
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The Piscius in the sluice of Iron Gate I
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Romanian National Team prepares for night fishing
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Grigore Davideanu trying to produce a smile despite the nasty wind on the main channel
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Core Team member Gabor Guti documents minor waste accumulation on the bank
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Sleeper goby (Perccottus glehni)
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Sunrise at Radujevac
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Gabor Guti gives instructions for the day to Piscius captain Tibor Kiss

Fishing rodeoFishing rodeo

The JDS2 Fish Team continued to have their share of adventures from September 7 to 14, between Belgrade and Lom, Bulgaria. September 13, upstream from Iron Gate 2 at Station 64 in Romania, was especially eventful.

To begin, the long travel distance enabled only two Fish Core Team members, Grigore Davideanu and Gabor Guti, to join the Romanian National Fish Team. Strong winds made it impossible for them to sample by boat, forcing them to get out and wade along the shallow banks. Meanwhile, Fish Team leader Christian Wiesner staying on the Piscius experienced a very busy day. After his rodeo ride against the storm, and taking several showers while fixing things on deck, all of the ropes tying the small zodiac boat to the Piscius gave way to winds and tore. Until a supplementary rope was found, the zodiac had drifted over a hundred meters away. Thanks to the captain's careful manoeuvring, and despite the huge waves and storm, it was possible to catch and tie the boat again. But to fix it properly, Wiesner had a half-hour drill from the small, rocking platform at the ship's rear. Finally everything was in place again - for the moment. Suddenly, when the ship was about to enter the sluice of Iron Gate 2, the outdoor table, although tied to the railing, was blown off-deck, and Wiesner again had to fish more property out of the Danube into safety. Even entering the sluice was a challenge as the winds and waves pushed the Piscius against walls and other ships before everything was safe and calm.

Bad weather and long distances hampered sampling efforts at other stations. There were difficulties in finding fish at some sites, especially for removing tissue samples for later analysis. At Station 54 in Grocka, Serbia, the deep and wide water made it possible for the wise fish to hide from the Fish Team's attempts at identifying them. And occasionally, the electric engine died out. "Hopefully new sparks will ignite our fires again," said Wiesner on one particularly difficult day.

Nonetheless, there were some interesting finds. At Station 54, the highlight was an abnormally pigmented bighead goby (Neogobius kessleri). At Station 57 at Velika Morava (Sept.9), night fishing proved successful with several pike (Esox lucius) and other bigger fish caught (although the battery died and sampling was later abandoned). The highlight of the following day was at a side channel where several pike, a catfish (Silurus glanis) and the first sleeper goby (Perccottus glehni), a new invader from East Asia, were found.

On Sept.14, in order to cross the border to Bulgaria and reach Lom, the team had to spend the whole day cruising instead of sampling. Even the engaged Romanian National Team could not assist in bridging the distance by car this time. So an early start from Radujevac greeted by the rising sun and the anticipated meeting with the Bulgarian national delegate Stojan Mihov were the main events of the day. But anyway, after the almost disastrous voyage from the day before, it was a picturesque relief for everyone on board.

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