In recent years, the River Doubs' ecosystem has been showing signs of significant deterioration. The French and Swiss authorities have been working together to improve the quality of the water and its aquatic habitats along the shared border.

The midsection of the River Doubs, which forms the border between Switzerland and France, is not only a river of great important to fish, it is also an area of exceptional natural and scenic value. The Doubs is also used to produce electricity.

For several years now, its ecosystem has been showing signs of significant deterioration. Fish are suffering from fungal infections and increased mortality after spawning, and there is an overgrowth of algae.

To address this problem in its entirety, a binational governance structure, consisting of three cross-national working groups, was established in 2011.


Cross-national working groups

Improving water quality and aquatic habitats: This working group deals with the environmental aspects of the River Doubs such as water quality, species protection and river morphology. The FOEN sits on this group as a representative of the Confederation, alongside representatives of Neuchâtel, Jura, and Bern cantonal environmental agencies, and the regional and national authorities of France.

Water quality group

Fisheries Commission: This commission deals with issues related to fishing in the Rivers Doubs, fish and their habitats. The FOEN represents the Confederation in the working group, which also includes representatives of the cantons of Neuchâtel and Jura and the French fisheries authorities.

Fisheries group

Flow management: This working group deals with issues related to the use of hydropower. It is co-chaired by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) and by DREAL Franche-Comté, the French authority responsible for energy production. The expert agencies of the cantons of Neuchâtel and Jura are also represented in the Swiss delegation.

National Working Group

Doubs National Action Plan

In response to the 14 recommendations made by the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention at its plenary session from 3 to 6 December 2013, the Confederation, in collaboration with the cantons of Neuchâtel and Jura, has drawn up a national action plan for the Doubs. The action plan aims to restore the ecosystems linked to the River Doubs border and the Doubs in the Jura and ensure the long-term conservation of the biocenoses characteristics of the river and its tributaries. This is in particular to protect the only population of Rhône Apron(Zingel asper), a fish species found in the Doubs.

The apron or 'King of the Doubs' (Zingel asper)

The apron (Zingel asper) is a small fish of the Percidae family that is only found in the Jura part the River Doubs in Switzerland. Considered one of Europe's most endangered vertebrates, the apron is listed in Appendix II of the Bern Convention as a 'strictly protected' species. In Switzerland, the apron is considered a priority species in danger of extinction. A study commissioned by the FOEN in 1999 provided details of the species' distribution in the Doubs and an estimate of its population. Since then, the species has been monitored by the Confederation and the canton of Jura.

Further information


Schlussbericht Doubs (PDF, 3 MB, 18.05.2020)Echtzeit Erfassung von Pflanzenschutzmitteln und ausgewählten Abwasser-Markersubstanzen im Doubs mittels MS2field Trailer und Pyrethroid Spezialanalytik

Last modification 27.06.2023

Top of page