DSTF strategy to protect sturgeons in the Danube
HIGH LEVEL EVENT TO DISCUSS THE STRATEGY TOWARDS THE EFFECTIVE PROTECTION OF THE STURGEONS IN THE DANUBE RIVER BASIN
Back to back with the regular meeting of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), a high level event was organized by the Danube Sturgeon Task Force (DSTF) and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region – Priority Area 06 (Biodiversity), with the ICPDR at the Vienna International Center, on 2 December 2015. The meeting was intended to inform the participants of the ICPDR meeting on the outcome of the EU START project STURGENE, that is to outline a harmonized strategy for sturgeon rehabilitation in the Danube basis. A project focused on the measures required for effective ex-situ measures such as the
- -Establishment of an international consortium, with governmental representatives and scientists, to lead the ex-situ conservation program
- -Genetic inventory of captive and wild sturgeons to select suitable candidates for future restocking programs
- -Establishment of a pilot ex-situ facility for the migratory species to secure brood stocks of the most valuable sturgeons and to implement urgent measures to prevent the Russian sturgeon in the Danube from becoming extinct.
Following the DSTF presentation of the project results, WSCS (World Sturgeon Conservation Society) presented lessons learned from the Baltic Sea sturgeon rehabilitation projects to outline the necessity of long-term planning and international collaboration to become effective.
The meeting was attended by representatives of European Commission DG ENV, CITES and fishery authorities of the Lower Danube countries, water management authorities, environmental NGOs such as WWF, WSCS, the International Association for Danube Research (IAD), the European Anglers Alliance (EAA). During the discussion a series of concerted measures were highlighted as urgently needed in the Middle and Lower Danube countries, comprising: (1) extension of sturgeon fishery ban, , (2) enforced control of illegal fishery, (3) elaboration of coordinated National Action Plans for Sturgeon Conservation, (4) transnational in-situ monitoring program of sturgeons, (5) feasibility studies to re-establish migration at the Iron Gates dams.
The representatives of the range states to the Lower Danube (Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia) confirmed their commitment to prolong the fisheries ban that would otherwise terminate this year for an additional period of 5 years in an attempt to support the recovery of the stocks.