The houting (Coregonus oxyrinchus) is a European, allegedly extinct species of whitefish in the Salmonidae family. It is native to the estuaries and rivers draining to the North Sea. The houting is distinguishable from other Coregonus taxa by having a long, pointed snout, an inferior mouth and 38—46 gill rakers. The houting once occurred in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and England.
There is however controversy whether whitefish surviving in the North Sea sector of Denmark (Wadden Sea) and considered there as houting (snæbel) represent the same species as the houting that was extirpated from the more western parts of the North Sea. A €13 million restoration project of the Danish houting, partly funded by the European Union's LIFE programme and the Danish Natural Agency, was successfully undertaken in 2005–2013. The Danish houting is genetically part of the widespread European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus complex), or Coregonus maraena of the Baltic Sea basin, while its genetic relationship to the extinct populations cannot be confirmed. Danish researchers argue that the morphological differences between different houting populations are not exceptional within the broader variation of the European whitefish, and probably no species-level extinction has taken place. Others think that the morphological differences are decisive, and that the last true houting was caught in the lower Rhine in 1940.
- Freyhof, J. and C. Schöter. 2005. The houting Coregonus oxyrinchus (L.)(Salmoniformes: Coregonidae), a globally extinct species from the North Sea basin. Journal of Fish Biology 67:3, 713–729.
- Schöter C., 2002. Revision der Schnäpel und Großen Maränen des Nordseeund südwestlichen Ostseeraumes (Teleostei: Coregonidae). Diplomarbeit, Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn.
- Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. 2008. Coregonus oxyrinchus. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 December 2008.
- Hansen M.M., Fraser D.J., Als T.D. & Mensberg K.L.D.(2008). Reproductive isolation, evolutionary distinctiveness and setting conservation priorities: The case of a European lake whitefish and the endangered North Sea houting (Coregonus spp.). BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:137 doi:10.1186/14716-2.
- Maas, P.H.J. (2010). Houting – Coregonus oxyrinchus. In: TSEW (2014). The Sixth Extinction Website. Downloaded on 29 June 2014.
- The houting project – The second largest nature restoration project in Denmark naturstyrelsen.dk (the Danish Nature Agency)
- Snæbelprojekt – Naturgenopretningsprojekt for en af EU's mest truede fiskearter naturstyrelsen.dk (the Danish Nature Agency)
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