Scientists for Vjosa - Videos

The international and Albanian freshwater science community raise their voices to warn of the severe consequences of the proposed dams on the Vjosa (and her tributaries). Listen to the many aspects of concern, including erosion of the coastline, loss of biodiversity, threat of dam break due to earthquake-prone area, loss of economic income and many more. Will the Albanian government listen to science?

Videos by Becky Holladay

“The Vjosa is so unique because it flows freely from one end to the other” Prof. Aleko Miho from the University of Tirana explains why the Vjosa is so unique on a European scale: unlike any other river she flows unobstructed by human interference and as such is of great significance for the international community.

“If you build the dam, you will lose the coastline” Freshwater ecologist Prof. Gilles Pinay from the National Research Institute IRSTEA in France discusses one of the most important things we would lose if Albania’s Vjosa is dammed: sediment - and with it, the coast.

“The dams would be strongly affected by the seismic activity” Dr. Klodian Skrame from the Polytechnic University of Tirana warns that building dams in the Vjosa basin - one of the most earthquake-prone areas in Albania - poses a major threat. These geological aspects must be taken into serious consideration. (Video by Adrian Guri)

“If you build a hydropower dam, the eel will completely be lost in the Vjosa.” Dr. Paul Meulenbroek from the BOKU University in Vienna/Austria, talks about the European Eel, a critically endangered and protected species that spends part of its life cycle in the Vjosa . It cannot survive in dammed rivers.

“I’m so concerned that we are at the brink of losing the only single wild river in Albania” Prof. Ferdinand Bego from the University of Tirana explains why a dam on the Vjosa would be so catastrophic for the future of riverine ecosystems. How can one repair a broken river if no reference of an intact river system is left to study?

“By the time the company hands over the rights to sell the electricity, there will be no more electricity production, and the government will be left with an environmental disaster to clean up” Dr. Steven Weiss from the University Graz, Austria points out the irony that the project has no benefit for Albanians whatsoever.

“Benthic invertebrates are one of the most important groups that would be damaged if the Vjosa River would be dammed” Prof. Sajmir Beqiraj from the University of Tirana explains why this group is particularly critical to the functioning of the aquatic ecosystem and its biodiversity.

“The wild rivers in the world are now disappearing”  Prof. Futoshi Nakamura from the Hokkaido University in Japan explains why the future of our planet’s lifelines depends on saving the last intact rivers, like the Vjosa.

“The EU has asked us to protect the Vjosa. This request should be important to Albanian decision makers” In May, the EU will once again discuss whether to open accession talks with Albania. Prof. Aleko Miho from the University of Tirana explains why the protection of the Vjosa would send a positive message to the EU. 

“All over the Balkans, iconic rivers like the Vjosa are not only symbols of national pride but also very, very important economic engines for the local people” Dr. Steven Weiss from the Karl-Franzens University Graz, Austria, explains the benefit of ecotourism. A dam would destroy all this development potential.

“By one singe dam, we interrupt the evolutionary process of migratory species in a way that they are not able to fulfil their life cycles and will die over time” Prof. Ferdinand Bego from the University of Tirana is concerned about the proposed dams on the Vjosa and explains what would be lost if they are to be built.

“If dams will be constructed in Vjosa, then the wonderful Vjosa gravels will be lost, the Egyptian vulture will lose its territory and nature will lose an indispensable ally.” Dr. Taulant Bino, from Polis University, Tirana explains the importance of the Vjosa for the Egyptian Vulture – a globally critically endangered species.



In 2018, 11 scientists of the IGB sampled the entire river network of the Vjosa  in a three weeks long expedition. They stand up for their findings and urge to protect this intact ecosystem, which has become extremely rare throughout the world.