Danube’s treasure | WWF

Danube’s treasure

Jesetra naturepl.com / Frei / ARCO / WWF rel=
Jesetra naturepl.com / Frei / ARCO / WWF
© naturepl.com / Frei / ARCO / WWF
Sturgeons are the most endangered fish species in the world, with very few natural habitats that could be their home. To ensure the survival of these valuable fish in the lower Danube and the north-western part of the Black Sea, WWF has launched a new project which is financially supported by LIFE, the European Union fund for environmental protection. The project area includes the only remaining sites in Europe, where populations of Danube’s sturgeon are still reproducing in a natural way.

In addition to the main areas in Romania and Bulgaria, it includes Serbia, with significant space downstream of the Djerdap hydropower, as well as Ukraine, including the northern part of the Danube Delta, which is historically significant for spawning and refuge on the shores of the Black Sea where sturgeons are wintering. In contrast to the strict legal regulations in all countries of the Lower Danube and the Black Sea, because of the illegal capture and trade of caviar and meat, wild sturgeons are still threatened with extinction, although they are the last surviving specimen of the ancient and legendary fish. In the next four years, a large project team consisting of seven partners from six countries will be dedicated to better protection of sturgeons. Together with fishing associations, alternative sources of income for local communities will be required and developed in order to reduce dependence on previously prestigious, but now illegal activities.