Two events have recently improved the prospects of protecting fish and their environment in Switzerland: the acceptance of a new Federal Water Protection Law in the plebiscite of May 17th 1992, and the new Federal Legislation on Fisheries, in force since January 1st 1994. With this legal framework, the possibilities for protection of nature and landscape have now considerably improved in Switzerland. The most important aims of the Federal Law on Water Protection are to safeguard the natural habitats of the native flora and fauna and water as the habitat of aquatic organisms. This includes not only the preservation or restoration of water quality in lakes and rivers, but also, in rivers used for hydroelectricity, irrigation or as industrial or other water supplies, the maintenance of sufficient water to fulfill the minimal requirements for fish. However, good quality water in sufficient quan tities alone is not enough to guarantee the survival of fish. Intact fish habitats comprise various phYsical structures including plenty of hiding places, hunting grounds, reproduction and nursery areas within suitable distances from each other. This third aspect of conservation and restoration of aquatic habitats is a central point in the new Federal Law on Fisheries. Whereas the former versions of this law were more concerned with fishery regulations, the recent legislation defines new areas of responsibility for the federal and the cantonal governments.