The Italian Alpine and Subalpine trouts: Taxonomy, Evolution, and Conservation
Water Research Institute (IRSA)—CNR, Largo Tonolli 50, 28922 Verbania Pallanza, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 February 2022
Revised: 6 April 2022
Accepted: 8 April 2022
Published: 11 April 2022
In a great part of the world, trout fishing has long inspired human spiritual ideals of immersion into nature and recreation, far removed from the fast-encroaching urbanization. Concurrently, these values and emotions fueled a white-hot business, establishing a florid market of outdoor recreation. Since the 20th century, the trout-culture industry strived to provide anglers with fishing entertainment by stocking massive amounts of non-native trouts in dozens of countries, irrespective of the lakes’ and rivers’ carrying capacity. This had dire consequences on the structural and functional diversity of these ecosystems. “Trout wars” sparked throughout the world between the promoters of stocking activities and the promoters of “wild trout management” and ethics. The “Italian trout war” has been fought on the harsh battleground of trout taxonomy, ecology, distribution, and native vs. non-native interfertile species. Northern Italy, home to the Italian Alpine and subalpine trouts and economic center of the national trout-culture and stocking industry, was particularly affected by this clash. We review here the state of art of this ongoing debate, outlining our scientific view of the taxonomy, evolution, distribution, and sustainable management of the native Italian trouts of northern Italy.