In 1987, a year after the Basel environmental disaster that left 1.5 million fishes dead in the Upper Rhine, nine European countries met and promised to restore the river including reintroducing Atlantic salmon by the year 2000 in its natural reproduction habitat in Switzerland. 35 years later, migratory fish travel up the river but are still stuck in France and can’t enter the Swiss confederation.

After missing the second target set for 2020, another official time frame aims at 2030. Although France is currently building two giant fish passes near the Swiss border, our investigation suggests that it might be hard for France to comply with this new deadline because authorities still haven’t found a viable solution for the last unequipped dam in Vogelgrun.

This investigation by French environmental media “Vert” and Swiss magazine “L’illustré” explores political, economical and technological obstacles that still stand in the way of this iconic fish.

Team members

Marie-Charlotte Roupie

Marie-Charlotte Roupie is a French freelance video reporter collaborating with various news outlets including France 24, Francetélévision, RFI, RTS and Arte.

Marie-Charlotte Roupie

Laetitia Béraud

Lætitia Béraud is a French video reporter currently working for “L’illustré”, a French speaking general-interest magazine in Switzerland.


Laetitia Béraud

Amanda Cox

Amanda Cox is an American journalist and head of special data projects at USAFacts.

€5.700 allocated on 23/02/2022

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