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Few other animal species on Hardangervidda have been as much the focus of scientific research as the spotted trout. The spotted trout is considered to be a genetic variant of brown trout. It lives in parts of the Krækkjav water system. Otherwise, on a world scale, this species is only found in a small area in Kaukasus, and possibly also in a lake in Rondane.
After the ice age, Granvin Fjord reached all the way up under Skjervsfjossen waterfall. Just a thousand years later, as a result of the rising of the land after the ice melted, this whole inner part of the fjord freed itself of the sea and became Granvinsvatnet lake. In spite of this rise in elevation, this waterway is still navigable for fish: Sea trout have wandered into Granvinsvatnet in more recent times and evolved to become freshwater trout. And salmon and sea trout made the journey 13 kilometres up the Storelvi river.
The wild rabbit is really native to Northwest Africa, but the Ancient Romans introduced them to large parts of Europe. Not to Norway, rightly enough: the population on Fedje originated from 3-4 pairs that were brought here from the Shetland Isles in 1875, making this their first residence in the country.
When the debate about building a pontoon bridge over Salhus Fjord was raging, some were afraid that the bridge would disrupt the ecology of the fjord system inside. The worst predictions did not prove true, but it is easy to see that there was a change: the Puffins have gotten a new food platter after the Nordhordaland bridge was built. Its favourite meal, mussels, thrive on the pontoons that are the foundation for the bridge.
Around Mjøsvågen here is still a compact marine use area. Some of the buildings are common boathouses, but most of them also house small enterprises and workshops. This is where the farmers from Øvsthus, Mjøs, Hole and other farms have supplemented their meagre incomes as smiths, brass moulders, clog makers, chest builders and decorative painters.
The troll-like sounds from the Red-throated diver carry long distances between the mountains around Storavatnet. The high-pitched, haunting screeches on quiet evenings in May are a sign that the mating season has begun.
There is still life to be found that is just “hanging on a string”. The Etne river has been the most important river for sports- fisherman in Hordaland after salmon fishing in Vosso was temporarily forbidden. As late as 2000, 4 tonnes of salmon and sea trout were taken out of the Etne river, the best fishing for 10 years. In the whole of the county there are only 15-20 rivers that can compete with this haul.