NGO: Romania’s decision to ban wild sturgeon fishing indefinitely, important step in species' conservation
The decision to ban fishing for wild sturgeon and the selling of wild sturgeon products indefinitely in Romania is an important step in the species' conservation, non-governmental organization WWF said.
This March, environment minister Barna Tanczos announced he signed the order to ban fishing for wild sturgeon in Romanian waters indefinitely, Agerpres reported. The decision came after a five-year ban.
“Extending the ban indefinitely is an important step in sturgeon conservation. But it is not enough. An integrated and fair approach means working with fishing communities from communication, to involvement in conservation activities and alternative solutions to lost income, better law enforcement, proper research and monitoring, maintaining migration routes, and last but not least, awareness of sturgeon products consumers in terms of their legality,” Cristina Munteanu, the coordinator of the Save Danube Sturgeons Life Natura Project, WWF-Romania, said.
According to the sturgeon market survey conducted by WWF in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine in 2016-2020, poaching and the illegal market for caviar and wild sturgeon meat are among the most serious threats to sturgeon survival in the Lower Danube basin. Although fishing and selling wild sturgeon (and products) are prohibited in all these countries, the survey showed that poaching and illegal selling and buying of wild sturgeon and sturgeon products were widespread in the region, WWF said.
WWF Central and Eastern Europe (WWF-CEE) is currently involved in two sturgeon conservation projects tackling sturgeon poaching In Romania. The MEASURES project aims to create ecological corridors by identifying key habitats and initiating protection measures along the Danube and its main tributaries. As part of the project, over 9000 baby sturgeon were released into the Danube. Sturgeon are also helped through the SWIPE (Successful Wildlife Crime Prosecution in Europe) project, which aims to discourage and reduce wildlife crime by improving compliance with EU environmental law and increasing the number of successfully prosecuted offenses.